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The September Night Sky

The sky is not a painting, it's a movie. Stars pulse, flare, some explode as supernova, asteroids whiz by the earth, new comets appear in the sky, Aurora sets the northern skies ablaze and meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere.

 Astronomy Picture of the Day

See below Hubble site Tonight's Sky, highlights of this months night sky movie with narration below. Click on photo below.

Autumn Begins

The September Equinox occurs at 10:21 am EDT on September 22, Autumn begins in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere.

The Full Moon for September

Full Corn Moon or Full Harvest Moon – September This full moon’s name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering. Courtesy: Farmers Almanac.

Lunar Phase

New Moon September 1 5:30 am EDT
First Quarter Moon September 9 7:49 am EDT
Full Moon September 16 3:05 pm EDT
Last Quarter Moon September 23 5:56 am EDT
New Moon September 30 8:11 pm EDT

September Visible Lunar Highlights

September 8, the Moon, Saturn, and Mars form a grouping in the southwest evening sky at 9:00 pm..

The Planets Visibility for September


Hidden in Glare of Sun

Mercury re-appears next in the morning sky September very low on the eastern horizon.


Evening sky W

Venus midmonth is at -3.9 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'11" and phase of 88.72%. Venus sets at 9:04 and you will need a clear flat horizon to see Venus right after sunset.


 SSW Sky 

Mars midmonth is at -0.1 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'10" located in the constellation Ophiuchus visible after sunset in the south southwest. Mars sets at 11:21 pm. A small telescope can reveal some surface markings on the planet. To see which part of the surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page. See: How to find degrees.


Hidden in Glare of Sun

A small telescope will easily reveal four of Jupiter's largest and brightest moons. Check out Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons Utility for other configurations. Sky and Telescope Red Spot Calculator 


Evening SSW 

Saturn midmonth is at 0.5 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.16". Saturn sets at 10:52 pm. Saturn is in the constellation Ophiuchus visible in the south southwest after sunset.  See: How to find degrees. Through a small telescope Saturn will reveal the famous rings of the planet. Rings currently are +26.2° tilt. See: Saturn's moons locations 


Evening-Morning Sky E

Uranus midmonth is at 5.8 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.04" rising at 8:22 pm in the constellation Pisces.

 A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a green-gray disk. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope


Evening-Morning Sky ESE

Neptune midmonth is at 7.8 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.02". Neptune is in the constellation Aquarius rising at 6:40 pm.. Neptune reached opposition on September 2.

See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Bright Asteroids Midmonth

Asteroid 8 Flora at magnitude 10.5 The asteroid is only 03°46'35" above and to the left of Saturn located in the constellation Ophiuchus.

Dwarf Planets


Evening Sky 

Pluto is located amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.2 and diameter 00°00'.00" setting at 1:18 am.


No Comets Brighter than 8 magnitude

  For more on current Comets and locations see: Sky & Telescope also Seiichi Yoshida web site here.


No Major Showers for September

See: Listen to Meteors , American Meteor Society, Meteors Online also NASA All Sky Network

Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.

Satellites Visible from York

Satellites visible from Hanover

Satellites visible from Gettysburg

Satellites visible from Lancaster

Satellites visible from Baltimore

Satellites visible from Harrisburg

Also see: Spaceflight NASA

The Sun

Real time solar wind dials are linked live to the ACE Spacecraft.

 If the dial on the left (Magnetic Field) has dipped below zero, the speed is high and the dial dynamic pressure is in the yellow/red, be alert for Aurora. Anytime the gauges are in the Red and the dial on the left, the Magnetic Field BZ has dipped to the yellow-red... Aurora will be occurring in our area. See link to solar wind gauge here: REAL TIME SOLAR WIND

See explanation of  solar wind dials below by clicking on photo of dials


Use your hand to find degrees

NASA Night Sky Network Planner

Free download. AstroPlanner  

Download a free starmap at: Skymaps

Make your own starmap at: Star Finder

Download a free Planetarium for your computer at: Stellarium or Hallo Northern Sky Stellarium has many extra features.

Your Sky - Fourmilab

Your night sky map on the internet

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart Register to use.

Sky Map