Night Sky Guide: Celestial Events To Look Out For This September
As we bid adieu to the awe-inspiring August night sky, marked by the breathtaking Perseids shower and an array of celestial marvels, September is ready to amaze us with its own celestial wonders. The September night sky is adorned with a captivating lineup of astronomical events, promising a month of planet-gazing, celestial encounters, and the arrival of the September equinox. Whether you're a seasoned stargazer or just looking to dip your toes into the cosmic pool, September's night sky has something in store for everyone.
September 18 - Venus Shines Brightest
Venus has been dazzling our evening skies; on September 18, it reaches its peak brightness. This marks the brightest that Venus will be seen in the morning sky before it transitions to the evening sky in the coming months. Keep an eye on the western horizon to glimpse this radiant planet.
September 19 - Neptune At Opposition
In a celestial dance, Neptune and the Sun will be on opposite sides of Earth on September 19, a phenomenon known as opposition. This unique alignment bathes Neptune in bright sunlight, making it an ideal time to observe this distant planet. To catch a glimpse of Neptune, you'll need suitable equipment, such as telescopes or binoculars, and a star-finder app to locate it in the Pisces constellation.
September 23 - September Equinox
While not directly observable, the September 23 equinox is a significant astronomical event. On this day, day and night are nearly equal in duration worldwide, as the Sun shines directly over the equator. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, it marks the official arrival of fall. Additionally, Mercury, often elusive due to its proximity to the Sun, will be at its greatest eastern elongation, visible in the dawn sky before disappearing into the Sun's glare as it continues its 88-day orbit.
September 29 - Full Supermoon
September bids farewell with a celestial spectacle—a Full Supermoon. This Supermoon, the last of the year's four, will shine brightly, illuminating the night sky. Known as the Harvest Moon, it harks back to a time when farmers relied on moonlight to harvest their crops through the night.
For those in New Delhi, the September ε-Perseid meteor shower will grace the skies from September 5 to September 21, with its peak around September 9. To catch a glimpse of these meteors, wait until around 20:29 IST when the radiant point rises above the eastern horizon. The shower's peak activity is expected around 04:00 IST on September 10, offering a chance to witness this cosmic display.
So, whether you're a seasoned sky-watcher or just beginning your celestial journey, make sure to mark your calendar for these captivating astronomical events in the September night sky. It's a month filled with opportunities to marvel at the universe's wonders.