Witness the Spectacular Aurigids’ Peak (September 1)
On September 1, mark your calendars for the Aurigids’ peak, a meteor shower known for its mesmerizing display of shooting stars. Although the Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) is relatively low at 6, the Aurigids still offer a chance to witness celestial magic. Find a dark location away from city lights, grab a cozy blanket, and prepare to be amazed as you gaze at the night sky.
Encounter the Moon and Jupiter’s Close Approach (September 3)
Look up on September 3 to witness a celestial encounter between the Moon and Jupiter. The Moon will pass within 3°05′ of Jupiter, creating a captivating sight for stargazers. With Jupiter shining brightly at a magnitude of -2.6, this event is definitely worth observing. Don’t forget to set your alarms and enjoy this celestial rendezvous.
Venus and Jupiter Take Center Stage (September 4)
September 4 brings notable changes for two prominent planets. Venus concludes its retrograde motion while Jupiter begins its own retrograde journey. These planetary motions add an intriguing aspect to the night sky, and observing them can deepen your understanding of our solar system’s dynamics. Take a moment to appreciate the dance of the planets as they gracefully traverse the celestial stage.
Moon’s Encounter with the Pleiades (September 5)
On September 5, the Moon will pass within 1°6′ of the Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters. The Pleiades, with a magnitude of 1.2, is a stunning sight on its own, but when accompanied by the Moon, it becomes a celestial delight. Take this opportunity to capture breathtaking photographs or simply admire the beauty of these celestial objects.
Last Quarter Moon and Mercury’s Solar Conjunction (September 6)
September 6 marks the Last Quarter Moon, signaling the approaching end of the lunar cycle. Additionally, Mercury will be at its inferior solar conjunction, aligning between the Sun and Earth. While the Moon’s phase adds a touch of mystery to the night sky, Mercury’s conjunction offers a chance to learn more about the innermost planet of our solar system. Witness the Moon’s waning phase and ponder the wonders of space.
September ε-Perseids: A Stellar Shower (September 9)
Prepare for the September ε-Perseids, a meteor shower reaching its peak on September 9. With a ZHR of 5, these meteors may not be as numerous as some showers, but they still offer a fantastic opportunity for stargazers. Find a comfortable spot, lie back, and let the night sky weave its magic as you witness the graceful descent of shooting stars.
Moon’s Encounter with Pollux and Venus (September 10-11)
On September 10, the Moon will pass within 1°30′ of Pollux, a bright star in the constellation Gemini. Take this chance to locate Pollux in the sky and appreciate its brilliance, with a magnitude of 1.1. The following day, the Moon will pass 10°49′ away from Venus, the dazzling evening star. Marvel at the celestial dance between our natural satellite and these celestial luminaries.
Celestial Highlights and Close Approach of C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) (September 13)
September 13 brings multiple noteworthy events. The Moon will pass 4°6′ away from Regulus, a prominent star in Leo, and 5°59′ away from Mercury. Moreover, C/2023 P1 (Nishimura), a comet, will make its closest approach to Earth. Witness these celestial phenomena and contemplate the vastness of our universe. It’s a night to remember.
New Moon, Mercury’s Retrograde Motion Ends (September 15)
On September 15, welcome the New Moon, a time when the lunar phase transitions from dark to a slender crescent. Take this opportunity to stargaze without the Moon’s interference and explore the depths of the cosmos. Additionally, Mercury concludes its retrograde motion, allowing us to observe its movements with renewed clarity.
Encounter Mars and Spica’s Celestial Proximity (September 16-17)
Look up on September 16 as the Moon passes within 0°35′ of Mars. Observe the Red Planet in all its glory, with a magnitude of 1.7, and marvel at its distinct color. The following day, on September 17, the Moon will pass 2°24′ from Spica, a brilliant star in the constellation Virgo. Take this opportunity to appreciate the celestial dance between our lunar companion and these celestial entities.
Venus Shines at Its Brightest (September 18)
September 18 marks the day when Venus reaches its greatest brightness, shining at a magnificent magnitude of -4.8. Look towards the evening sky and let Venus captivate you with its radiance. Its brilliance is truly a sight to behold, reminding us of the wonders of our solar system.
Neptune at Opposition (September 19)
On September 19, Neptune, the majestic blue planet, reaches opposition. This means that it aligns perfectly with the Earth and the Sun, offering optimal viewing conditions. Although Neptune is not visible to the naked eye, this event presents an opportunity for astrophotographers and amateur astronomers to capture the distant planet’s beauty through telescopes.
Moon’s Encounter with Antares and Lunar Occultation (September 21)
September 21 brings a captivating celestial event as the Moon passes within 0°54′ of Antares, a magnificent red giant star in the constellation Scorpius. This event is followed by a lunar occultation of Antares, which is visible from Japan, eastern Russia, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Witness the Moon’s celestial journey and the rare occultation, where the Moon briefly hides Antares from view.
Mercury’s Morning Elongation and First Quarter Moon (September 22)
On September 22, Mercury reaches its greatest morning elongation, providing an excellent opportunity to observe the elusive planet in the pre-dawn sky. Look towards the eastern horizon before sunrise and spot Mercury shining with a magnitude of 2.0. Additionally, the First Quarter Moon graces the night sky, with its illuminated half captivating observers.
September Equinox: Celebrating Celestial Balance (September 23)
September 23 marks the September equinox, a celestial event that heralds the arrival of autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere. On this day, day and night are approximately equal in length, symbolizing a perfect balance between light and darkness. Take a moment to appreciate this celestial occurrence and reflect on the harmony of our solar system.
Moon’s Encounter with Saturn and Daytime Sextantids (September 27)
On September 27, the Moon will pass within 2°38′ of Saturn, the majestic ringed planet. Look towards the evening sky and witness this celestial rendezvous, as the Moon and Saturn create a captivating celestial pairing. Additionally, the Daytime Sextantids meteor shower, with a ZHR of 5, offers a unique opportunity to observe shooting stars during daylight hours. Keep an eye on the sky and make a wish as you witness these celestial wonders.
Full Harvest Moon: A Supermoon Spectacle (September 29)
On September 29, prepare for the Full Harvest Moon, an awe-inspiring celestial event that coincides with a Supermoon. The Full Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, and its Supermoon status means it appears larger and brighter than usual. Take this opportunity to bask in the moonlight and appreciate the beauty of our celestial neighbor.
September 2023 offers an array of spectacular astronomical events, from meteor showers and celestial encounters to planetary motions and lunar phases. Embrace the wonders of the night sky, set aside time for stargazing, and immerse yourself in the celestial beauty unfolding above. Remember to use the Sky Tonight application or other resources to determine the exact timing of these events in your location. Let the cosmos inspire and ignite your curiosity as you embark on a celestial journey like no other. Happy stargazing!
|Event||Pacific Time (PT)||Mountain Time (MT)||Central Time (CT)||Eastern Time (ET)|
|Aurigids’ Peak||September 1, 12:00AM||September 1, 1:00AM||September 1, 2:00AM||September 1, 3:00AM|
|Moon and Jupiter’s Close Approach||September 3, 9:00PM||September 3, 10:00PM||September 3, 11:00PM||September 4, 12:00AM|
|Venus and Jupiter Changes||September 4, All Day||September 4, All Day||September 4, All Day||September 4, All Day|
|Moon’s Encounter with the Pleiades||September 5, All Day||September 5, All Day||September 5, All Day||September 5, All Day|
|Last Quarter Moon and Mercury’s Conjunction||September 6, 9:00PM||September 6, 10:00PM||September 6, 11:00PM||September 7, 12:00AM|
|September ε-Perseids Peak||September 9, All Day||September 9, All Day||September 9, All Day||September 9, All Day|
|Moon’s Encounter with Pollux and Venus||September 10, All Day||September 10, All Day||September 10, All Day||September 10, All Day|
|Celestial Highlights and C/2023 P1 Close Approach||September 13, All Day||September 13, All Day||September 13, All Day||September 13, All Day|
|New Moon and Mercury’s Retrograde Motion Ends||September 15, 9:00PM||September 15, 10:00PM||September 15, 11:00PM||September 16, 12:00AM|
|Moon’s Encounter with Mars and Spica||September 16, All Day||September 16, All Day||September 16, All Day||September 16, All Day|
|Venus Shines at Its Brightest||September 18, All Day||September 18, All Day||September 18, All Day||September 18, All Day|
|Neptune at Opposition||September 19, All Day||September 19, All Day||September 19, All Day||September 19, All Day|
|Moon’s Encounter with Antares and Lunar Occultation||September 21, All Day||September 21, All Day||September 21, All Day||September 21, All Day|
|Mercury’s Morning Elongation and First Quarter Moon||September 22, 5:00AM||September 22, 6:00AM||September 22, 7:00AM||September 22, 8:00AM|
|September Equinox||September 23, 12:00PM||September 23, 1:00PM||September 23, 2:00PM||September 23, 3:00PM|
|Moon’s Encounter with Saturn and Daytime Sextantids||September 27, All Day||September 27, All Day||September 27, All Day||September 27, All Day|
|Full Harvest Moon||September 29, 8:00PM||September 29, 9:00PM||September 29, 10:00PM||September 29, 11:00PM|