September is a busy month for sky treats from seeing asteroids passing by our planet to watching meteor showers, and even spotting several planets. Here is the summary of the sky events for this month:
The Aurigid meteor shower is active between August 28th and September 5th with its peak happening on September 1st. During its peak, those looking towards the Auriga constellation in the lower part of the northern horizon may see up to 6 meteors per hour. And with the moon only 26% illuminated, the shooting stars should be easily visible.
On September 3rd, Mercury will be at its highest point in the sky – 11° above the western horizon after sunset.
The peak of the ε-Perseid meteor shower (not to be confused with the August Perseids) will happen on September 9th with up to 5 shooting stars each hour in the direction of the constellation Perseus high up in the southwest sky.
Also on September 9th, you will see the closest approach of the moon and Venus. In fact, Venus will be located within 4°04′ of the waxing crescent Moon.
Comet 4P/Faye will be at its closest location to the sun on September 10th at a distance of just 1.62 astronomical units (1 astronomical unit is the distance of Earth to the sun). You will, however, need a large telescope to view it and you’ll have to be an early riser to get the best view of it between around 2am and 5am local time traveling through the constellation Taurus.
On September 11th, Asteroid 2 Pallas will be at opposition (meaning it is opposite to the sun) in the constellation Aquarius in the southern sky. You’ll be able to view it with a telescope.
Neptune will be at opposition on September 14th in the southern sky in the constellation Aquarius. Since the moon will be 61% illuminated, you will need a telescope to see the planet along with Asteroid 2 Pallas which will be located close to the ice giant.
Saturn and Jupiter will make their closest approaches to the moon in the middle of the month. On September 16th, Saturn will be approximately 3°45′ from the moon, and the following night on September 17th, Jupiter will be located about 3°57′ from the moon. These three objects will be located in the constellation Capricornus. However, since the moon will be 87% illuminated, the rings around Saturn and the moons of Jupiter will be harder to detect with a telescope.
While there won’t be any sky events on the 22nd, it’s important to note that it will be the September Equinox which is when seasons officially change as well as the day and night being equal lengths.
Have fun watching the sky!