If you’re an early riser, you’re in astronomical luck in September! While Mars and Saturn are fading rapidly in the western sky during the early evening hours, Venus and Jupiter dominate the early morning eastern sky.
But fear not, fellow night owls, for you too can feast your eyes on some celestial treats! The planets Neptune and Uranus will be visible through binoculars and small telescopes during the evening hours this month. In fact, now is a particularly good time to observe these two (not so bright) planets. Uranus reaches what’s called “opposition” on September 29: That’s when the Earth is between Uranus and the Sun. In other words, Uranus is on the opposite side of Earth than the Sun on September 29. Neptune was at opposition last month, but is still a nice site to see through a telescope or binoculars. While you can see both Neptune and Uranus through a telescope, Uranus — strictly speaking — is just barely visible to the naked eye — but just barely! In order to see it, you’d need to go far from city lights and view it on a clear, moonless night. (And you better have good eyesight to boot!) We recommend sticking with your telescope or binocs!
Finding your star in the night sky
Stars are located within constellations, which are just areas of the night sky. Scorpius, Aries and Taurus are examples of constellations. Your Name A Star Live Star Certificate displays the name of your constellation. You can use our online World Constellation Guide to determine if you can see your constellation during the evening hours (between sunset and midnight). Of course, you’ll need a telescope to see your star. But you can see your constellation without the use of a telescope. You can also find your constellation by using our Virtual Planetarium™ astronomy software. A planisphere is another useful device.