This Month’s Sky – September 2015

What’s Up in the Sky
AAA Observers’ September Guide
By Tony Faddoul

September’s Evening Planets: Saturn will be in Li-bra the Scales until 11 PM, setting earlier every night until 9 PM at the end of the month. Mercury will be up for an hour after sunset in Virgo the Virgin in the first half of September. Neptune is in Aquarius the Water Bearer all night. Uranus can be found in Pisces the Fish all night, rising at 9PM and earlier every night. Dwarf planet Pluto is in Sagittarius the Archer until midnight.


September’s Evening Stars: Spot the Summer Trian-gle of Vega in Lyra the Harp, Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, and Altair in Aquila the Eagle all night. Arcturus in Boötes the Herdsman will be up until 10 PM. Capella in Auriga the Charioteer will be up around 10:00 PM, lingering all night. Antares in Scorpio the Scorpion will be up for a couple hours after sunset. Spot the stars of constellations Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Pegasus, Perseus, Cepheus, Draco, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pisces, Capricornus, and the two Dippers.


September’s Morning Planets: Find bright Venus in Cancer the Crab and Mars between Cancer and Leo the Lion around 4 AM until sunrise. Uranus will be in Pisces the Fish until sunrise. Jupiter is found in Leo for an hour before sun-rise during the second half of September. Neptune is in Aquarius until 5 AM.


September’s Morning Stars: Sirius, the brightest star from Earth, will be up around 4:00 AM each morning and earlier every day, rising at 3:00 AM by month’s end. Spot Capella in Auriga and the stars of Aquarius, Cetus, Taurus, Gemini, Orion, Pegasus, Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Perseus, and the two Dippers.

September Skylights


Sep 5 Venus stationary at dawn

Last Quarter Moon at 5:55 AM

Sep 10 Venus 3° south of Moon pre-dawn

Sep 13 New Moon at 2:40 AM

Sep 14 Moon at apogee (252,550 miles away)

Sep 15 Mercury 2° south of the Moon pre-dawn

Sep 18 Saturn 3° south of the Moon at midnight

Sep 21 First Quarter Moon at 5:00 AM

Venus at its brightest at dawn

Sep 23 Autumnal Equinox at 4:20 AM

Sep 27 Closest Super Moon of 2015 at 10:50 PM

Full Moon at perigee (221,750 miles away)

Lunar Eclipse; Totality 10:11 PM-11:23 PM

Times given in EDT.

Super Moon Eclipse

On September 27, the full Moon will be at its closest to Earth this year, creating a “Super” Super Moon. And to make the Moon even more special that night, observers will enjoy a total lunar eclipse and the chance to watch the Moon shed its silver-white brightness and become a reddish disk.







Is it really going to look red?

In a lunar eclipse, Earth is positioned between the Sun and the Moon. Direct sunlight is blocked from the Moon, but light of long-er wavelengths from every sunrise and sunset on Earth is dissemi-nated through our atmosphere and refracted to the Moon, giving it a coppery-red look. Some refer to this as a “Blood Moon.” It occurs at totality, the midpoint of the eclipse, when the Moon is completely in the Earth’s shadow. Totality will last about 1 hr. 11 min. for this eclipse.


Is it visible in New York?

Yes! The event begins at 8:11 PM with the Moon in Earth’s penumbral shad-ow; only part of the Sun’s light is blocked. It be-comes partially eclipsed as it enters the umbral shadow at 9:07 PM. From 10:11 PM to 11:23 PM, the eclipse will be total, and the Moon will appear red. It passes into the penumbra again at 12:27 AM, and the event ends at 1:22 AM onSeptember 28. The entire process will take five and a half hours to complete.


Who else can see the total eclipse?

The entire eclipse event will be visible in western Africa, western Europe, South and Central America, and the eastern half of North America. Western Asia, eastern Africa, and eastern Europe can see part of the eclipse before sunrise, while western North America will be able to view part of it after sunset.


What do I need to see the lunar eclipse?

The eclipse can be viewed with the naked eye; all you really need are clear skies. Even near city lights, the Moon will still be visible.


When is the next lunar eclipse?

The next total lunar eclipse will take place on March 8 in 2016. Mark your calendars!