September promises to be another busy month for passionate sky watchers and will be putting on a great show in the upcoming weeks, centered around some spectacular views of the Milky Way which you wouldn’t want to miss.
Many exciting planetary sightings are also in the mix, as the Inquisitr recently reported, with Neptune reaching opposition on September 7 and Venus popping by more dazzling than ever toward the end of the month.
The brightest planet in the solar system, Venus reaches its peak luminosity for the entire year on September 21, when it will glow at a magnitude of -4.78, notes Space.
But before Venus comes to grace us with its presence, the autumn celestial displays kick off this Sunday night with a rare appearance from Jupiter’s four Galilean moons, reports News Beezer, citing Tulsa World.
Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede will be visible throughout the week on the night sky, so hold on to your binoculars and get ready for a special treat.
The four moons start off in full formation and will appear on the eastern side of Jupiter on Sunday night.
On Monday, September 3, Io and Europa begin to dance around Jupiter. A look through the telescope in broad daylight will reveal the two moons transiting the gas giant, as Io and Europa pass in front of the planet.
“For observers in Europe and western Africa only, on Monday, September 3, Io’s shadow will begin to transit at 16:42 UT [12:42 p.m. EDT], in daylight,” explains Space. “At 18:30 UT [2.30 p.m. EDT], Europa’s shadow will join Io’s and the duo will transit for 33 minutes until Io’s shadow moves off the planet at 19:03 UT [3.03 p.m. EDT].”
Changing their position in the sky as the week advances, Jupiter’s four Galilean moons will be reduced to three by Friday, September 7, visible just for a few hours on the east side of the gas giant.
By Saturday, September 8, stargazers will only be able to see two of the Galilean moons shining next to Jupiter, also during a short time interval.
Other Moon Events To Witness This September
Just like the moons of Jupiter, our own moon has a full dance card this month and will be parading across the sky in stellar company.
Tomorrow night, the moon reaches its last quarter phase at 10:38 p.m. EDT, rising as a waning crescent moon at midnight. Its first rendezvous is with Aldebaran, the brightest star in the Taurus constellation, which will be waiting patiently for the waning crescent moon to make its midnight appearance on September 2.
On September 12, stargazers can watch the waxing crescent moon swing by Venus, passing above its shining orb to position itself next to Jupiter. Also known as the young moon, the waxing crescent will slide to the gas giant’s upper right corner on September 13.
“Both objects will fit together in the field of view of binoculars,” notes Space.
Next up is a date with Saturn on September 17, one day after the rising of the first quarter moon. The pair will meet up soon after dark and cross the sky together up until midnight, with the moon twinkling to the upper left of a “medium-bright yellowish Saturn,” states the media outlet.
Two nights later, on September 19, the waxing gibbous moon teams up with the bright reddish Mars for an engaging performance. Be sure to catch them after the dark sets in and don’t forget to bring your binoculars.
The ‘Harvest Moon’ — Full Moon Of September
The full moon of September makes its big entrance less than a week after that, lighting up the sky on September 24. September’s full moon shares a moniker with the “Sturgeon Moon” of August, as both are traditionally called the “Corn Moon,” the Inquisitr previously reported.
But it also goes by other names as well, such as the “Barley Moon.” And, since this is the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox on September 22, it has been dubbed the “Harvest Moon.”
According to Space, the September full moon “always shines in or near the stars of Aquarius and Pisces,” which means that you can use its position to trace the two constellations in the sky.
The end of the month comes with a stellar reunion, as the moon — by then in its waning gibbous phase — crosses paths with Aldebaran once again on September 29.