DR. SKY BLOG

September skies feature harvest moon, 4 of the planets for viewing

Aug 31, 2022, 2:00 PM

(Pexels Photo)...

(Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

With fall just around the corner and the traditional end of the summer monsoon season, we will soon return to those great Arizona skies.

Month No. 9, September, offers up some very interesting sights to behold.

We begin with an overview of the moon and its location in our skies.

September begins with the moon as a very thin waxing crescent phase. Visible in the west-northwest sky at sunset, reaching first quarter on Sept. 3.

A brightening moon will appear after then and moves on to a waxing gibbous phase.

One of the best full moons of all 2022 will be the full harvest moon Sept. 10 at 2:59 a.m. Arizona time.

To view this at best, try looking to the east at sunset on the night before. The moon will rise at 6:45 p.m. Arizona time just to the right of due east.

The sun on that date will set at 6:42 p.m. Arizona time, so look for the moon to rise minutes after the sun sets.

A harvest moon is one which either rises at or near sunset or is already in the sky at sunset.

This gave farmers more time to harvest crops by the light of the full moon.

A harvest moon is one that is closest to the date of the autumnal equinox.

We experience the change of season with the autumnal equinox on Sept. 22 at 6:03 p.m. Arizona time.

Here is more on the meaning of the harvest moon.

The moon will then move on its orbit and return to last quarter Sept. 25 and become a thin waning moon till the next new moon.

The last week of September will be a great time to seek out some faint objects like galaxies, cluster and planets, as the light of the moon will not get in the way.

September is full of planets too!

Look low in the west-northwest at sunset during the first week of September for elusive Mercury.

Here is how to spot it.

Saturn is easy to see by looking to the southeastern sky at sunset. Still quite amazing in a telescope, here is how best to find it.

Jupiter, the giant of our solar system, comes to opposition on the night of Sept. 26 and is most impressive, rising in the southeast at sunset.

This is the planet that you have waited for all year, as it is bright and offers a lot to see.

Here is how to find it.

Finally, Mars begins to shine in the late evening sky in the northeast. Mars will be getting closer to Earth during the next few months.

Here is how best to find it.

September has a lot to offer and will begin a season of clear and cool nights for us here in Arizona – simply get out and enjoy!

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Podcasts are available here.

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September skies feature harvest moon, 4 of the planets for viewing