Observers with medium to giant telescopes will wish to level at magnitude 4 Saturn this night. A number of of the ringed planet’s moons are lined up properly tonight: Tethys and Enceladus sit east of Saturn, whereas Mimas, Dione, and Rhea stretch out to the west. Brighter Titan sits about 1.5′ northeast of the planet and is seen with smaller scopes.
Equally, Saturn’s good rings are inside attain a small telescope and even giant binoculars. They stretch 40″ throughout and keen-eyed observers might spot the shadow of the planet darkening the rings off the japanese limb. Because of a slim Moon, the sky must be darkish; when you’ve acquired good observing circumstances, spend a while watching the planet’s 18″-wide disk for refined variations in its environment. Though Jupiter’s cloud bands and belts are sometimes simpler to discern, Saturn, too, typically reveals variations in shade amongst its cloud tops.
Dawn*: 6:44 A.M.
Sundown: 7:03 P.M.
Moonrise: 7:59 A.M.
Moonset: 8:12 P.M.
Moon Section: Waxing crescent (3%)
*Instances for dawn, sundown, moonrise, and moonset are given in native time from 40° N 90° W. The Moon’s illumination is given at 12 P.M. native time from the identical location.
Saturday, September 19
Because of the current discovery of phosphine in its atmosphere, the planet Venus has loved a while within the limelight. You will get in on the joy early this morning by on the lookout for Earth’s sister planet within the japanese sky earlier than daybreak. An hour earlier than dawn, Venus is 27° excessive; it’s positioned in Most cancers the Crab and shining an excellent magnitude –4.2. By means of a telescope, you’ll see that the planet’s disk is 67 p.c lit and spans 17″. If you happen to return to the planet all through the remainder of the month, you’ll see it develop to 71 p.c lit however shrink a bit to shut out September with a diameter of 16″.
Most cancers itself is a comparatively small, dim constellation, however recognizable shiny stars on this area of the sky embrace Regulus in Leo, Castor and Pollux in Gemini, and Procyon in Canis Minor. Observe a line from the horizon upward by Venus, then proceed craning your head up alongside the identical line to identify shiny Capella in Auriga, practically immediately overhead.
Dawn: 6:45 A.M.
Sundown: 7:01 P.M.
Moonrise: 9:14 A.M.
Moonset: 8:43 P.M.
Moon Section: Waxing crescent (8%)
Sunday, September 20
If you happen to’re up for one more early morning viewing session, return to the japanese sky earlier than daybreak and find Venus as soon as extra. Then look with binoculars or a small telescope 2.5° northeast of the planet to find asteroid 4 Vesta, a dim magnitude 8 object far outshined by the planet’s blazing mild.
Venus at present sits practically the identical distance from Earth as Earth is from the Solar, whereas Vesta (positioned within the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter) is sort of thrice that distance from Earth. And though Venus is simply barely smaller than our planet, Vesta is a mere 330 miles (530 kilometers) throughout. It’s practically — however not fairly — spherical, and is the most important physique in the principle belt, after 1 Ceres (which we’ll go to later this week).
Each Venus and Vesta shall be seen collectively in the identical discipline of view most of this week, earlier than they diverge because the nearer (and thus faster-moving) planet overtakes the extra distant asteroid, leaving it behind.
Dawn: 6:46 A.M.
Sundown: 6:59 P.M.
Moonrise: 10:30 A.M.
Moonset: 9:18 P.M.
Moon Section: Waxing crescent (15%)