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Night sky in September – southern hemisphere


Highlights: Jupiter bright in morning sky.

Here is a view of the night sky this month as seen from mid-southern latitudes such as Sydney (-33° 52′) in mid September, 2014, at 10pm local time.

The planets in September 2014

Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east of the Sun on 21 September, but for mid northern latitudes will be very low over the horizon in the evening sky, so tricky to spot. For observers in the southern hemisphere things will be a lot better.

Venus is still in the morning sky, but closing in towards the Sun. Catch it while you still can, shining at magnitude -3.9.

Mars steadily dims further to +0.8 magnitude by the month’s end as it continues to recede from the Earth, shrinking in apparent size, and moving from Libra into Scorpius. Look for it as soon as the sky darkens because it sets about three hours after the Sun. Saturn lies not far away. Find out more about Mars here including new maps to show its position in the sky.

Jupiter is becoming prominent again in the morning sky, in the constellation of Leo, and shining brightly at magnitude -1.8. A small telescope will be enough to reveal its four brightest satellites, the Galilean Moons.

Saturn is an evening object, in Libra, and shining at magnitude +0.6. Look for it low in the southwest as soon as it gets dark after sunset. Even a small telescope will show its spectacular rings and you should also look for its brightest moon, Titan.

Note: The sky will appear much the same from other cities at similar latitudes, such as Perth or Wellington, at around 10pm local time. Imagine holding it over your head so that the centre of the chart is the zenith and the edge runs all the way around your horizon. The sky appears the same at the start of the month an hour later and at the end of the month an hour earlier.

We use Virtual Sky, a customizable, browser-based planetarium, courtesy of Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Tip: The chart is interactive. Click on the date or location to the top left of the chart to view the sky at a different time or from another location. If you want to check out the sky as seen from the northern hemisphere, click here.