September 1st, 2015
As the months change, so do the skies above us, but there’s plenty to see – even without a telescope or binoculars. Be sure to mark these dates in your diary for some unmissable night sky sights.
Not only does the crescent Moon appear close to Venus and Mars in the pre-dawn sky, but this is also an excellent opportunity to see Earthshine on the waning Moon. Earthshine is the light reflected back from the Earth onto the Moon’s surface. When the Moon is in a crescent phase, this light brightens the unlit portion of the Moon and allows the entire Moon to be visible.
Nine days later, after the Moon turns new it re-appears in the early evening sky. As it’s just a few days away from first quarter, it’s a little thicker compared to September 10th and is making one of its last visits by Saturn in 2015. Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius the Scorpion, appears nearby but may be difficult to spot from the United Kingdom.
If you’re an early riser, you won’t want to miss this sight in the pre-dawn sky. It’s the first of several similar events involving several planets and the Moon that occur over the next few months, but each will be a little different. This morning, we have Venus shining brilliantly in the east, with Jupiter close to the horizon. But between them both we have Mars, very close to Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo, the Lion. The red colour of Mars should provide a great contrast to the blue-white of the star.
Before the month ends, many observers in the northern hemisphere will get another chance to see one of the astronomy’s most amazing sights: a total lunar eclipse. This one occurs in the mid evening for those in North America and the early hours of the 28th for those in the United Kingdom. (Unfortunately the 28th is a Monday. Take the day off and make it a three day weekend!) Mid-eclipse occurs at 10:47 p.m. Eastern Time (7:47 p.m. Pacific), which is 3:47 a.m. in the U.K.
These are just some of the night sky sights for September – many more can be seen with just your eyes but with binoculars or a telescope the universe truly comes alive.
Take the time to stop and stare!
All Astronomical Events for September 1st, 2015
11:05 UT – The waning gibbous Moon passes asteroid 4 Vesta. (Vesta: magnitude 6.3. Cetus, pre-dawn sky.)
11:41 UT – Neptune is at opposition. Distance to Earth: 28.953 AU. (Magnitude 7.8, diameter 2.3”. Aquarius, all night. Click here for more details.)
15:35 UT – The waning gibbous Moon passes Uranus. (Uranus: magnitude 5.7, diameter 3.6”. Pisces, pre-dawn sky.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
2015: An Astronomical Year
|2016: An Astronomical Year||2016: The Night Sky Sights||The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019)||The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook (Pocket Edition)|
(Kindle & Paperback)
|(Kindle & Paperback)||(Kindle & Paperback)||(Kindle & Paperback)||
|Amazon – US||Amazon – US||Amazon – US||Amazon – US|
|Amazon – UK||Amazon – UK||Amazon – UK||Amazon – UK|
Details of all available books across the world can be found here or by visiting the author’s page on Amazon. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at” gmail.com