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Exploring September's night sky


Andrew Yee, astronomer
September 3, 2012 — Sky watchers will get a chance to see plenty of planets in this month.


The Moon will make three interesting pairings with planets this month
The Moon will make three interesting pairings with planets this month

If you look to the south-western sky after sunset this month, you'll be able to see Mars and Saturn, but the two planets will set earlier each day.

By the last days of the month, Saturn will appear too close to the Sun to be seen.

Jupiter will be the next planet to appear in the southern night sky. It will come up near midnight and rise earlier as the month progresses.

Look to the lower left of Jupiter and you will see Venus, which will appear much brighter than Jupiter. The brilliant stars of Orion (the hunter) and other bright stars in nearby constellations will also make an appearance.

The Moon will make three interesting pairings with planets -- the first one being a tight grouping with Jupiter. Four mornings later, we'll see it near Venus, and a week after that, another tight pairing with Mars.

Watch out for the setting sun on the 29th. In the opposite direction of the sky you will see a rising full moon.

Since it will be the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, this will be the Harvest Moon.

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