Jupiter has made it into the late evening sky rising in the east around midnight. By the end of the month, it should be well positioned in the eastern sky in the late evening for telescopic viewing. Saturn now rises in the east-southeast shortly after sunset and will be visible all night long.

Saturn’s ring angle is now down to 8 degrees but still nicely visible using binoculars or a small-to-medium-sized telescope.

Both Venus and Mercury have completed their conjunction with the Sun and can be found in the early morning sky in the east about an hour before sunrise. Venus, at magnitude -4.7, should be very easy to find.

Mercury will make one of its best appearances of the year in the early morning skies rising some 10 degrees above the eastern horizon. The best viewing of the tiny planet will be the few days bracketing the middle of the month.

Mars is very low on the west-southwestern horizon as it approaches conjunction with the Sun. It will be a bit of a task to find it in the afterglow of sunset. Binoculars will probably be your best bet to find the “red” planet.

The Moon will be last quarter on the 6th, new on the 15th, first quarter on the 22nd and full on the 29th. Looking east, around midnight on the 3rd, the waning gibbous Moon will be above and to the right of Jupiter. Looking east again on the morning of the 11th, about an hour before sunrise, the waning crescent Moon will be above and to the left of Venus. Looking to the east-southeast on the 26th, about an hour after sunset, the waxing gibbous Moon will be just below and to the right of Saturn.

Autumn is upon us as the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere will begin at 12:50 a.m. on September 23.

There will not be a first Saturday star party at the Etscorn Campus Observatory this month.

Clear Skies!

Jon Spargo

New Mexico Tech Astronomy Club.

Jon Spargo, New Mexico Tech Astronomy Club