In the Sky this Month for SWFL.
If you are new to the night sky, and have an Android device, such as a tablet or phone, you can find a free app in the Google Play Store, called Sky Map. Sky Map will help you locate objects in the night sky.
In the Sky this Month
Rise & set times of planets are in local time for Ft. Myers, FL (26.6°N,81.9°W).
Local sunrise on the 1st is at 7:06 a.m. (80°ENE), and sunset is at 7:47 pm 280°WNW)
Local sunrise on the 30th is at 7:19 a.m. (93°E), and sunset is at 7:14 pm (267°W)September starts with 12 hours, 41 minutes of daylight and ends with 11 hours, 54 minutes.
Information is from above as well as Sky & Telescope and Astronomy Magazine and SkyMania.com
Moon: Full – 2nd; Last Quarter – 10th;
Apogee – 6th; New – 17th;
Perigee – 18th; 1st Quarter – 24th. On the 1st, it sets at 6:27 a.m. (253°WSW), and rises at 7:52 p.m. (105°ESE). On the 30th, set time is 6:09 a.m. (261°WSW), and rise time is 6:59 p.m. (96°ESE).
Mercury: (dusk, in Leo, moving to Virgo by month’s end) is a challenge this month. On the 1st, at -0.5 magnitude and 5” wide, it rises at 8:10 a.m. almost an hour after sunrise (Az, 86°E), then sets at 8:25 p.m. (274°W). By the end of September, at a brightness of +0.1 and <7” wide, it rises at 9:20 a.m. (107°E). An hour after sunset, it sets at 8:17 p.m. (253°W). It is at maximum eastern elongation on October 1st. Venus (pre-dawn to dawn, East, moves from Gemini into Cancer and then to Leo this month) On the 1st, it rises at 3:47 a.m. just over 68°E, and sets at 5:08 p.m. (292°W). Its brightness is at -4 for the month, and changes from about 19” to 15” wide. On the 30th, it rises at 4:20 a.m. (76°E) and sets at 5:12 p.m. (284° W). Mars (most to all night, rising in the East, in Pisces all month) On the 1st, at magnitude -1.8, it rises at 10:15 p.m. and sets at 10:44 a.m. the next morning). On the 30th, at magnitude -2.5, it rises at 8:12 p.m. and sets at 8:39 a.m., October 1st. Its disk size decreases from > 44” to nearly 22.5” for the month.
Jupiter: (dusk to post midnight, Southwest, in Sagittarius) stops retrograde motion on the 12th and starts to move eastward in the sky again. It starts the month with a diameter of 44.2” and ends at 40.53”. On the 1st, it rises at 4:45 p.m. and sets about 3:11 a.m. the next morning. On the 30th, it rises at 2:53 p.m. and sets the next morning about 1:18 a.m. Its brightness starts the month at -2.4 and increases slightly to -2.2 on the 30th.
Jupiter and Saturn were less than 5° apart in May, and are about 8° apart in September.
They start moving closer together until they are only 0.1° apart on December 21st.
Saturn: (dusk to post midnight, Southwest, in Sagittarius), stops retrograde motion on the 29th and starts to move eastward in the sky again. Saturn’s brightness decreases a bit from 0.3 to 0.5. Its disk size decreases from 17.96” to 17.20 during September, and the rings, tilted at 23°, are still an impressive 40”. On the 1st it rises at 5:17 p.m. and sets at 3:49 a.m. the next morning. On the 30th, it rises at 3:21 p.m. and sets around 1:53 a.m.
In the last week of September, Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon appear from left to right in the South within an hour of sunset, just above Sagittarius.
Uranus: (midnight – dawn, in Aries) At the beginning of September, it rises in the East, Az ≈ 60°, at 10:43 p.m. and sets by the noon hour on the 2nd. It appears only 3.7” wide and a 5.7 brightness this month. On the 30th it rises at 8:47 p.m. at Az of 76° and sets at 9:47 a.m. on October 1.
Neptune: (all night, in Aquarius) On the 1st, it rises at 8:15 p.m. in the East at 101° Az, and sets about 7:56 a.m. On the 30th, it rises at 6:18 p.m. and sets at 5:58 a.m.
International Space Station: The ISS is visible from September 10-18 (moving from N→E on the 10th around dawn, and W→NE about 8-9 p.m. on the 18th) about altitude 10° during the evening, with magnitudes from about -1 to -3.6.
See this link for specific times and routes for the ISS: http://www.heavens-above.com
Hubble Space Telescope: will be visible from the 1st through the 10th (8-9:30 p.m.), moving generally W→ SE and 20th – 30th (predawn) at magnitudes > 0.
See this link for specific times and routes for the HST: http://www.heavens-above.com
Comets and Asteroids: See this link for specific times and routes for brightest observable comets and asteroids: http://www.heavens-above.com.
Links to finder charts are also available. Comet 88P Howell, with a short period of 5.5 years, is in good viewing position every 11 years (it is alternately on the opposite side of the Sun) and is coming in to view in a couple of months. It will have a brightness of 9.3 and viewed in Libra.
The brightest asteroids, 1 Ceres (dwarf planet) and 4 Vesta, will be at magnitudes 7.7 & 8.3 in Aquarius and Cancer, respectively.
International Space Station:
The Hubble Space Telescope will be visible from the 4th through the end of August. It appears in the predawn hours from the 4th through the 16th moving generally S → E, or W → N, anywhere from 10° to 40° altitude. On the 17th & 18th, it starts quite high, at 58° & 82°, respectively, moving WNW→E on the 17th and stays in the ENE on the 18th, down to 10° each day. It’s also brighter on these days at magnitude 0.7. See this link for specific times and routes for the HST: http://www.heavens-above.com