Where’s that Planet?

Depending on what time you are outside, there are at least three planets available in the sky at any given time during September. Evening brings you Jupiter, nighttime gives you Mars, and morning brings you Venus. But just what time are these easily seen?

We’ll start with the evening, and work throughout the night (all information is for September 15th).

As the sun sets in the west, Jupiter is already up in the southern sky, just west of due south. It is the brightest object in the evening sky, and sets in the southwest before midnight.

Jupiter at sunset on September 15

Turning to the east about a one-half our after Jupiter sets, Mars is rising and is 30° over the horizon at 3.00am. At 0 megnitude, it is the brightest object in the sky until the star Sirius rises an hour later. At dawn Mars is nearly 70 high about straight south.

Mars at 3.00am on September 16

At just before sunrise, the planets Venus ans Saturn appear in the morning twilight. At 7:00am, Venus is a brilliant star-like object 25° above the horizon, while Saturn shines a bit dimmer 10° to the lower left of Venus. Sunrise will quickly cause Saturn to disappear in the morning glare, but Venus stay visible longer.

Venus ans Saturn just before sunrise on September 16

So no matter what time of night you are out and about, there will be a bright planet visible to your eyes.  Go out and enjoy the wonders of the starry sky above your head.

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