You are here

In the Sky This Month

The Celestial Sea wheels into the east and southeast during September evenings. This group of constellations all relate to water. Capricornus, the sea goat; Aquarius, the water bearer; Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish; and Pisces, the fishes are in view as darkness falls. Cetus, the sea monster, and Eridanus, the river, follow behind them. They may share an aquatic theme because autumn was a rainy season in the ancient Mediterranean, where the constellations were named.

September 20: Dumbbell Nebula

The Dumbbell Nebula, which is the last breath of a dying star, is in the constellation Vulpecula, the fox, which stands high in the southeast at nightfall. Seen through a telescope, the nebula resembles a hand weight like you would use at the gym.

September 21: Moon and Antares

The Moon is in the southwest at nightfall this evening. The bright star Antares, which represents the heart of the scorpion, stands to its lower left.

September 22: Autumn

Today is the September equinox, which is the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere. This is one of two times of year when the Sun rises due east and sets due west for almost the entire planet (the other is the March equinox).

September 23: First-Quarter Moon

The Moon is at first quarter at 8:55 p.m. CDT today. Sunlight will illuminate half of the lunar hemisphere facing Earth. After that, the Moon will enter its waxing gibbous phase, growing fatter each day until it’s full on October 1.

September 24: Moon and Planets

The Moon has some bright companions this evening. The planet Jupiter is close to the upper left of the Moon, with the fainter planet Saturn farther from the Moon. Jupiter outshines all the other pinpoints of light in the evening sky right now.

September 25: Moon and Saturn

Look for the planet Saturn quite close to the Moon this evening. It looks like a bright star and is just above the Moon at nightfall. The brighter planet Jupiter stands a bit to their right.

September 26: Daytime Shower

The Daytime Sextantid meteor shower is at its peak tomorrow. Most of the meteors zip across the daytime sky, so you can’t see them. But you can hear them by tuning to a weak, low-end FM radio station. When a meteor passes by, the signal will strengthen for a few seconds.

Full MoonFull Sept. 2, 12:22 am

Last quarterLast Sept. 10, 4:26 am

New MoonNew Sept. 17, 6:00 am

First QuarterFirst Sept. 23, 8:55 pm

Times are U.S. Central Time.

Apogee September 6

Perigee September 18

The full Moon of September is known as the Fruit Moon or Corn Moon.