September’s Stars and Planets

If you’re an early bird, you can see the planets Mars and Jupiter in the eastern sky at sunrise this month!  If you have a telescope, consider looking at Mars during the mornings of September 8 and 9 as the red planet moves through the famous “Beehive Cluster” of stars in Cancer.  Both Mars and Jupiter will appear as bright points of light in the eastern sky before sunrise.

Mars and Jupiter
Mars and Jupiter are visible in the Name A Star Live constellations Cancer and Gemini, respectively.  Just look east during the hours before sunrise and look for the two bright ‘stars’ over the horizon.

September is the last time this year to get a good look at the beautiful, ringed planet Saturn, which has moved into the Name A Star Live constellation Libra.  You can use the Moon to find this astronomical jewel, and use just about any telescope to see its rings!

The Moon, Saturn and Venus
You can easily see Saturn and Venus (weather permitting) September 9, 2013 by facing west shortly after sunset.  You may see the bright star Spica (part of the Name A Star Live constellation Virgo) and, if you have a clear view of the western horizon, the planet Mercury.  This is a view from the northern hemisphere of Earth.

Saturn is an excellent telescopic object this summer.  For those of you in the northern hemisphere of Earth (e.g., North America, Europe, Japan) Saturn will appear above your western horizon after sunset.  For those of you in the southern hemisphere (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, South America — where it is winter, by the way) Saturn will appear above your west-northwest horizon after sunset.

The Moon, Saturn and Venus
Here is how Saturn, the Moon and Venus will appear as viewed from Sydney, Australia September 9, 2013 (weather permitting).

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.

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