Highlights: Bright planets Venus, Mars and Saturn in evening sky.
Welcome to Skymania’s guide to the night sky in September, 2016. You will find a map of the whole visible sky, which can be adjusted for any time and date, plus information on the position of the planets, phases of the Moon, and notable astronomical events to watch out for.
All-sky astronomical map
Here is a view of the night sky this month as seen from mid-southern latitudes such as Sydney (-33° 52′) in mid September, 2016, at 10pm local time. The chart is interactive, so you can click on the settings, to the top left of the chart, to change date and time, or your latitude, to suit your own astronomical set-up.
What to see in the sky in September 2016
Summary: After their close conjunction in late August, giant planet Jupiter and brilliant Venus are moving apart again, and you can see how quickly this happens by watching from one night to the next. Mercury is still visible nearby in the early part of the month but then races back towards the Sun. Here are our tips on observing Venus.
Mars and Saturn are still close together in the early evening sky, near the bright red star Antares, whose name actually means “rival of Mars”. From 2-21 September, both are in the “forgotten” zodiacal constellation of Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer.
The Moon always makes a great target for a small telescope, which come into view as its phases change. We’ve a guide to where to find 50 of the best lunar features, plus a checklist to download so you can tick them off as you spot them! A penumbral eclipse of the Moon occurs on 16 September across much of the world, other than the Americas. See it from southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Read our guide to it here.
Phases of the Moon
First Quarter: Sep 9
Full Moon: Sep 16
Last Quarter: Sep 23
Image courtesy U.S.N.O.
Fifty fantastic features – our amazing Moon
Here’s our guide to observing some of the finest sights on the Moon with small telescopes. Click here for pages of charts that will help you find interesting features to seek out yourself, including craters, lava flows, mountain ranges and deep chasms!
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.