What's Up in The Sky Now

Monthly Stargazing Targets  Getting Started in Astronomy

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 September 2020 (Notes by DMAS member Dave Lynch) 


The Planets 

This month is one we all have been waiting for as three bright planets return to the night sky and another lights up the morning sky. Unfortunately this is also the middle of Daylight Savings Time so the best times to view these planets comes rather late in the night. 

MERCURY is not one of the planets putting in an appearance this month. It remains low on the horizon and sets around one hour after sunset. Look for Mercury very close to Spika as the sun sets.

VENUS is still hanging around in the morning but it should be very easy to find. Rising close to three hours before the sun and reaches almost 40 degrees high just before sunrise.

EARTH is hopefully coming out of the heat of summer and starting to give some enjoyable evening temperatures. This planet has been hit with some ferocious storms this summer so hopefully they are a thing of the past.

MARS continues to increase in brightness all month and looks larger than it really is. Mars rises around two hours after sunset but quickly increases its length of appearance by less than one hour by month's end.

JUPITER is moving through Sagittarius this month and is highest in the sky only a couple of hours after sunset. Jupiter begins to fade a tiny bit this month and its apparent diameter shrinks slightly as it begins to pull away from us. 

SATURN has been chasing Jupiter these past months but begins to fall back slightly in September. Where Jupiter begins to fade slightly, Saturn increases in brightness all month. Always a breathtaking sight.

URANUS is quickly joining the rest of the planets putting in an appearance this month but it will be late to the party. Rising in Aries, Uranus just clears the horizon right at sunset. It will look much better as the darkness settles in.

NEPTUNE is another planet making its appearance in the night sky this month. Although not very bright due to its distance from us, it is still a respectable 8th magnitude object.

PLUTO is still up there, floating between Jupiter and Saturn.


  • Full Moon -> Sep 02

  • Last Quarter -> Sep 10

  • New Moon -> Sep 17

  • First Quarter -> Sep 24

Other topics this month: 


Comet Howell, with an orbital period of five a half years, will once again make its closest approach on September 26th. Not a bright comet. We haven't seen too many of those around here lately, This time by it is expected to reach close to 9th magnitude. On September 26th, Comet Howell will pass less than a half a degree from Antares in Scorpius. This comet has a history back in 2017 when a NASA Mission collected dust and water particles from this comet and safely returned them back for study.



Meteor Showers

web fireball 9x12Meteor showers come each year at the same time. Click here to see a list and descriptions.






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