What's Up in The Sky Now
September 2017 (Notes by DMAS member Dave Lynch)
The planets this month are almost evenly split between evening and morning appearances. A few of the brighter ones are rapidly disappearing to the west and some dimmer ones are rising to take their place. The morning planets are all bright enough to stand out against the background stars before the rising sun covers them up.
MERCURY is one of the early morning planets this month. This planet, usually too low to spot most of the time, rises well above the horizon after the middle of the month. On September 12th, it reaches its highest point all year.
VENUS is another early morning planet rising close to 4:00 am and about an hour later by month's end. Look for this bright planet nestled in among the stars of the Bee Hive Cluster. Venus is almost completely lit this month.
EARTH is starting into its fall phase when we can expect the air to be full of dust from the many farm fields being combined. The heat we have been experiencing will start to cool down and the evenings will become much more comfortable.
MARS can be seen in the early morning sky but unfortunately it will not rise above the horizon that much to be seen. Mars, along with Mercury and Regulus, will form a dim but recognizable triangle just before sunrise by the middle of the month.
JUPITER is rapidly fading to the west and is usually lost in the trees by the time it gets dark enough to see it. Close to the first of the month Jupiter has a close-up encounter with Spika. Look quickly as they will separate quickly after that.
SATURN is still very visible in the night sky this month. Well located in the southern sky just after sunset, this beautiful planet will begin to dim slightly this month as it starts to pull away.
URANUS is coming back into the night sky this month. It rises just after sunset and will remain visible all night. This blue planet is residing in Pisces all month and will set with the beginning of sunrise.
NEPTUNE is well up at as the sky begins to darken and is located in the constellation of Aquarius. By midnight Neptune is situated almost due south and with a Go-To telescope mount should make an interesting object to view.
Full Moon -> September 06
Last Quarter -> September 13
New Moon -> September 20
First Quarter -> September 28
Deep Space Objects
Click the link at top of the page for Monthly Stargazing Targets to get details about other things that can be seen this month.