An Evening Earth-lit Moon and Mercury

September 16th, 2015

If you live in the southern hemisphere, you’re in luck tonight. Not only does Earthshine illuminate the darkened surface of the crescent Moon, but the bright star Spica and tiny Mercury can be seen shining brightly nearby in the evening twilight.

Unfortunately, those of us in the northern hemisphere get short-changed, as only Earthshine is visible. Earthshine is the reflected light from the Earth as it shines on the unlit portion of the Moon’s surface, thereby allowing the whole of the Moon to be seen.

The orange giant star Arcturus may still be seen for a few hours after sunset but Spica is barely above the horizon and Mercury sets soon after the Sun. If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch the fleet-footed planet in the pre-dawn sky in the first half of next month.


All Astronomical Events for September 16th, 2015

00:35 UT – The waxing crescent Moon passes Spica. (Virgo, visible from southern hemisphere.)

Good opportunity to see Earthshine on the waxing crescent Moon after sunset. (Naked eye, evening 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.

Astronomical events taken from 2015: An Astronomical Year, available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the USCanada and the United Kingdom. Sky simulations created using the Mobile Observatory app for Android devices.

2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle Edition) 2016 An Astronomical Year Paperback Cover 2016 The Night Sky Sights

2015: An Astronomical Year

2016: An Astronomical Year 2016: The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac (2016-2020) The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook (Pocket Edition)

(Kindle & Paperback)

(Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback)


Amazon – US

Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US
Amazon – UK 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”


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