Visible planets and bright stars to see in the night sky!
September 16, 2022
Start watching Mars and Jupiter! On September 16 and 17, the Moon and Mars meet. And mark your calendars for September 26 when Jupiter is at its nearest and brightest of the year. All you have to do is look up! Here are viewing tips from Bob Berman.
Ah, September nights! The planets’ long, predawn repertory performance is coming to a close, with Venus getting very low and finishing its run as a morning star. The scene shifts to the evening sky, with Jupiter and Saturn both up in the east after 9 P.M.!
Jupiter is brightest and out ALL night from sunset all the way until sunup
Saturn is up before sunset and also out all evening!
Mars rises later in the evening (nearer midnight) and can be seen until it’s nearing sunup.
Night Sky Tonight: Mark Your Calendars
7th: Saturn hovers to the left of the Moon.
8th: That Saturn shifts to the right of the Moon.
10th: Jupiter stands to the left of the Moon.
11th: Jupiter is just above the Moon.
26th: Jupiter reaches its annual opposition
Planet Mars isn’t always very visible. Start watching mid-month as it’s starting to get brighter and redder. The Moon is a great pointer on the 16th and 17th.
16th: Mars is now rising at 11:30 P.M. Look up on Friday night, September 16, for the Moon and red Mars appears to the lower left. The Moon is near its Last Quarter.
17th: Mars now appears to the lower right of the Moon. It will stay out until dawn.
Mars will rise around 10 p.m. local time by the end of this month, though it’s best in the hours after midnight when it’s darkest (2 AM).
Jupiter at Opposition
Mark your calendars! On the evening of Monday, September 26, Jupiter makes its closest, biggest, and brightest appearance of the year. The yearly “opposition” happens with Earth passes between the Sun and the Jupiter, so Earth is at its nearest point to the Giant Planet.
Thursday evening, September 22 brings the autumnal equinox—at 9:04 P.M. EDT. This marks the start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, and the start of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.
The equinoxes occur twice per year when Earth’s tilt with respect to the Sun is the same for both hemispheres. Both north and south receive the same amount of sunlight, and day and night are, briefly, of nearly equal length.
This month, watch for Pegasus, the Winged Horse in the southeastern sky! A useful guide to this asterism (unofficial star pattern) is the Great Square, which outlines Pegasus’ body. See our star chart and how to find Pegasus.