Night Sky | September 2020: Month of the Rusty Red

This month we are going to witness the Rusty Red planet, Mars in all of its glory and hence the title. The Red Planet is soon to be at opposition, and for those of you who are just starting out in stargazing and do not know what opposition is, it means that Mars will be opposite to where the Sun is in the Sky. The opposition is the best time to observe any celestial object and as the planet approaches opposition it will start to become brighter. The best way to understand this is to think about the Moon. During the night of the Full Moon, the Moon is the brightest because we can see the whole disk. The Full Moon is also an example of opposition and the same will happen with Mars as well. On September 1st, 91 % of the surface of Mars will be illuminated as seen from Earth and this number will keep on increasing as the planet approaches opposition.


So now that we have discussed why we are calling September, the month of the Rusty Red, we will go ahead and discuss some of the major celestial events that will be happening throughout this month.




September 1: Conjunction of Mars and Dwarf Planet Eris

The Dwarf Planet Eris and The Red Planet Mars will share the same right ascension on September 1. From Sariska, the pair will become visible at around 10:20 PM at about 12 degrees above the Eastern Horizon. The pair will reach its highest point in the sky (meridian) at around 3:30 AM in the morning at about 60 degrees in the Southern sky, and then will fade in the dawn sky at around 5:47 AM at about 46 degrees above the South-Western Horizon. The Red Planet Mars will have a magnitude -1.8 in the constellation Pisces, while the dwarf Planet will have a magnitude 18.8 in the neighboring constellation Cetus.



September 2: Fruit Moon

On September 2 we will have the Full Moon. This Moon is also known as the Fruit Moon because this is the time of year when the apples, plums, peaches, grapes, and berries are at their ripest and heavy with juice. So make sure you are ready to observe and capture the Fruit Moon.




September 6: Conjunction of Moon and Mars

The Moon will pass 0 degrees 1 arcminute to the North of Mars as they share the same right ascension on September 6. From Sariska, the pair will become visible at around 9:30 when they rise 7 degrees above the Eastern horizon. The pair will reach its highest point in the sky (meridian) at around 3:12 AM at about 69 degrees above your Southern Horizon, before fading away in the dawn sky at around 5:49 AM at 47 degrees above the western horizon. Mars will have a magnitude -1.9 and the Moon will have a magnitude -12.3 and the both of them will be in the constellation Pisces.



September 11-12: Neptune at Opposition


The Blue Giant Planet, Neptune will be at opposition on September 11-12. This means that Earth will be in the center between Neptune and the Sun. As the sun reaches its lowest point beneath the horizon, Neptune will reach its highest point in the night sky at around 12:21 AM. This day also marks the closest approach of Neptune and Earth. The Planet will be accessible throughout the night and wil be brighter than any other time of the year.


This is the best time to observe and photograph Neptune. But due to its extreme distance from the Earth, it wil only be visible as a tiny blue dot in all but the most powerful telescope.




September 14: Conjunction of Moon and Venus

The Moon will pass 4 degrees 27 arcminutes to the North of Venus as they both share the same right ascension on September 14. The Moon will be 26 days old. From Sariska, the pair will be accessible at around 2:52 AM as they rise above the horizon. At around 5:53 AM in the morning, the pair will fade away from view when they are about 38 degrees above the Eastern Horizon. The Planet Venus will have a magnitude -4.1 and Moon will have a magnitude -10.6 and they both will be in the constellation Cancer.



September 22: Autumnal Equinox

September 22 will mark the end of the Summer season and the beginning of the Autumn season in the Northern Hemisphere. For people living in the Southern Hemisphere, this day marks the first day of the Spring season.





September 25: Conjunction of Moon and Jupiter

The Moon will pass 1 degree 35 arcminutes to the South of Jupiter as they both share the same right ascension on September 25. From Sariska, the pair will become visible at around 6:31 PM, 38 degrees above the Southern horizon as the dusk sky fades away. The pair will then reach its highest point in the sky (meridian) at around 7:20 PM about 39 degrees above the Southern horizon before fading away below the South-Western horizon at around 11:50 PM. The Moon will have a magnitude -12.1 and Jupiter will have a magnitude -2.4 and the pair will be in the constellation Saggitarius.



September 26: Conjunction of Moon and Saturn

The Moon will pass 2 degrees 19 arcminutes to the South of Saturn as they both share the same right ascension on September 26. From Sariska, the pair will become visible at around 6:28 PM, 37 degrees above the Southern horizon as the dusk sky fades away. The pair will then reach its highest point in the sky (meridian) at around 7:49 PM about 41 degrees above the Southern horizon before fading away below the Sout-Western horizon at around 12:25 AM. The Moon will have a magnitude -12.2 and Saturn will have a magnitude 0.2 and the pair will be in the constellation Saggitarius.


We hope that this article will help you plan your evening and night observations throughout the month. Subscribe to our Newsletter to get updates on the night sky events. We will see you again next month with the NIGHT SKY, OCTOBER 2020.




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Get all the highlights in the night sky of 2020. A great compilation for astronomy enthusiasts to enjoy the upcoming breathtaking celestial shows. Major planet visibility, Conjunctions, Meteor Showers, Moon Phase, Special Events, etc. The night sky is ever-changing and it always has something to observe which should not be missed because you don’t know when it’s going to happen next. But it is also not easy to know all the important things which will happen in our night sky. And that is why we bring for you a new series of videos in which we will be telling you all the major events that will happen throughout the month. All you have to do is note them down and observe them at the right time. We are working hard for bringing this information to you, if you like our content please hit the thumbs up button, consider subscribing to our channel and press the bell icon so that you can get notified whenever we upload any new content.

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