By Heather Durham | August 30, 2019
We will have the pleasure to see this month in our night sky, weather permitting, several wonderful celestial events. These include the usual sweep of stars and constellations, but also glimpses of galaxies, planets, comets, changes of moon phase, and the Fall equinox. Enjoy.
Mercury at superior solar conjunction
This elusive planet will pass very closely to the sun. It is often lost in the suns glare. This marks the end of Mercury‘s apparition in the morning sky and its transition to becoming an evening object over the next few weeks. It will also pass apogee at a distance of 1.37 AU from Earth making it appear very small and distant. (in-the-sky.org, 2019).
C2018 W2 (Africano) at perihelion
This comet will make its closest approach to the sun and might be visible from Rochester in the morning sky at 20:59 when it rises 21 degrees above the northeastern horizon. While this is not expected to be seen with the naked eye, it might be visible with bird-watching binoculars.
Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn
The Moon will be 11 days old when the moon and Saturn share the same right ascension. The two objects or make a close approach around the same time. From Rochester, they will be visible in the evening sky at about 8:09 PM. They will continue to be observable until around 2am when they sink below 8° above your southwestern sky.
Close approach of the Moon and Pluto
When the moon is 10 days old the pair can be seen in the evening sky at around 7:25 pm. They should be visible with binoculars.
No matter where you live on Earth, the sun will rise almost due east and set almost due west on this, the Equinox of this coming season. The timing of this event will be 3:36 EDT. The sun has a right ascension of approximately equal to 12 hours.
September is a month for new beginnings. The days will be shorter and the nights longer until the December Solstice.
In Rochester, the astronomical twilight begins at 4:57 am, the sunrise at 6:32 am, then the astronomical twilight ends at 8:14 pm. Sunrise is at 6:32 am, sunset at 6:39 pm and the time at which the sun is at its highest point in the sky is at 12:36 pm.
Close approach of the Moon and M44
When the moon is 25 days old, the Moon and the beehive cluster, M44 will make a close approach of each other. The pair will be visible and the dawn sky rising at 1:49 AM and reaching an altitude of 45° above the eastern horizon before disappearing from view as dawn breaks. The pair may be visible using a pair of binoculars.
Moon Phases, September 2019, Rochester, New Hampshire
Moon Phase – Date – Time of Day
- First Quarter – September 5 – 11:11 PM
- Full Moon. – September 14 – 12:35 AM
- Last Quarter – September 21 – 10.43 PM
- New Moon – September 28 – 2:27 PM
Dominic Ford, Editor. (August 11, 2019). From the Inner Planets Feed. Retrieved from
Equinox NH 2019 Celebration. (August 2019). Equinox New Hampshire. Retrieved from www.equinoxnh.com
Skymaps.com Monthly Report, (August 2019). Monthly Map. Retrieved from www.skymaps.com/downloads.html
timeanddate.com. (August 2019). September Equinox. Retrieved from www.timeanddate.com/calendar/september-equinox.html
Wikipedia. (August 2019). Conjunctions. Retrieved from en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_(astronomy)
Wikipedia. (August 2019). M44. Retrieved from en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_Cluster
Wikipedia. (August, 2019). September 2019 Equinox. Retrieved from en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_equinox