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In the Sky This Month

For much of the country, September is a perfect time for some evening skywatching. The nights are longer and cooler but not yet frigid, and there’s plenty to look at. The Summer Triangle remains in good view high in the sky, while Scorpius and Sagittarius wheel across the southwest. In the east, Pegasus, Andromeda, and Perseus climb into view after sunset.

September 22: Fomalhaut System

Fomalhaut, the leading light of Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish, is quite bright. It rises to the lower right of the Moon tonight, and stands below the Moon around midnight. It’s in a fairly barren region of sky, which makes it easier to pick out.

September 23: Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon lights up the sky the next few nights. It’s the full Moon closest to the fall equinox, which was yesterday. The Moon will be full at 9:52 p.m. CDT tomorrow night. But it will look almost the same on the nights before and after that.

September 24: Moon in the Sea

The Moon is swimming through the Celestial Sea, a group of constellations with a watery theme. Tonight, the Moon is near the border between Aquarius, the water bearer; Pisces, the fishes; and Cetus, the whale or sea monster.

September 25: Arcturus

Look in the west as twilight fades this evening for one of the most commanding stars in the sky: Arcturus, in the constellation Bootes, the herdsman. It shines pale yellow-orange.

September 26: Chasing Dogs

Two “dog stars” chase across autumn’s pre-dawn sky. The brighter one is Sirius, in Canis Major, the big dog. The other is Procyon of Canis Minor, the little dog. Both are high in the sky at first light, with Procyon far to the upper left of Sirius.

September 27: Triangulum

Wedged into a cozy space between the well-known constellations Andromeda, Aries, and Perseus is tiny Triangulum, the triangle. Its three brightest stars form a long, thin wedge. It rises in the northeast in early evening.

September 28: Atoms for Peace

NGC 7252, the Atoms for Peace galaxy, is in Aquarius. The constellation is low in the southeast at nightfall, and scoots across the south during the night. NGC 7252 looks like electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom.

Current moon phase

Last quarterLast Sept 2, 9:37 pm

New MoonNew Sept. 9, 1:01 am

First QuarterFirst Sept. 16, 6:15 pm

Full MoonFull Sept. 24, 9:52 pm

Times are U.S. Central Time.

Perigee Sept. 7

Apogee Sept. 19

The full Moon of August is known as the Harvest Moon, Fruit Moon or Corn Moon.