If you can find some clear skies this month and there’s not too much light pollution around, how about taking a moment to enjoy some of the delights of that vast abyss above your head?
NASA has released a helpful video (below) explaining what to look out for in the night sky, and the best thing is that you don’t need any expensive kit to enjoy the view. While a pair of binoculars or a pricey telescope will certainly enhance what you see, many points of interest are visible to the naked eye.
On September 6, for example, you’ll see Mars appear alongside the moon in the predawn sky. When you spot the red planet, consider for a moment that NASA’s Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter are heading there right now.
“If you’re up early and can step outside for a look, they’ll be only a couple of degrees apart, meaning they’ll appear in the same field of view,” NASA says in the video.
The following week, on September 13 and 14, throw your gaze eastward before dawn and you’ll catch sight of a slim crescent moon sliding by a brilliant Venus.
You’ll be able to spot Fomalhaut, too, a star that’s a few hundred million years old and that’s around 25 light-years away. Be sure to watch the video to find out more about Fomalhaut, and the interesting story of its nearby “planet.”
And don’t forget to look out for Jupiter and Saturn, both of which can also be seen with the naked eye.
To help you identify what’s what, mobile apps like Star Walk 2 (iOS and Android) and Planets (iOS and Android) are a great help, with both offering on-screen planet and star labeling simply by pointing your smartphone camera at the sky.
September might also offer a sighting of the International Space Station as it passes overhead. Check out this Digital Trends article explaining some easy ways to find out when it’s heading your way.
For a more detailed breakdown of what to look out for in September, check out NASA’s daily guide.
- This planet survived the death of its star — and we don’t know how
- NASA video offers behind-the-scenes look at Perseverance mission prep
- How the James Webb Space Telescope will look for life around dead stars
- Crispy image of Jupiter shows its epic storms and icy moon Europa
- See the closest-ever image of comet NEOWISE captured by Hubble