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Morning Zodiacal light highlights this week up in the sky

Zodiacal light and the Milky Way putting on an excellent show in Australia.
Zodiacal light and the Milky Way putting on an excellent show in Australia.(NASA)
Published: Sep. 5, 2021 at 10:49 PM EDT
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(WHSV) - When the sky is very dark in September and October thanks to not much moonlight, zodiacal light appears during the morning.

Losing Daylight

Over the next week, we will lose 17 minutes of daylight. By Sunday September 12th, sunrise will move from 6:48 am to 6:54 am and sunset will move from 7:38 pm to 7:27 pm. This will bring us down to 12 hours and 33 minutes of daylight and up to 11 hours and 27 minutes of darkness.

ISS Viewing (Most Viewable)

DateVisibleMax HeightAppearsDisappears
September 10th, 5:45 am7 min59°above NWabove ESE
September 12th, 5;50 am5 min41°above WNWabove SSE

Moon Phases & Next Full Moon:

Moon PhaseDate and Time
New MoonSeptember 6th, 8:51 pm
First Quarter MoonSeptember 13th, 4:39 pm
Full MoonSeptember 20th, 7:54 pm
Third Quarter MoonSeptember 28th, 9:57 pm

Next Full Moon

The next full moon will be on September 20th and it is known as the Harvest Moon. This is the time of the year when corn is harvested. Other known names for September’s full moon are the Corn Maker Moon and Corn Harvest Moon referring to harvesting corn. This full moon is also known as the Autumn Moon, Leaves Turning Moon, Moon of Brown Leaves, or Yellow Leaf Moon. These names are for the upcoming fall season. The Child Moon, Mating Moon, and Rutting Moon are also names as young animals are weaned at this time of the year along with it being mating season for many animals.

Other Interesting Events

Starting September 7th, about a half an hour before dawn in the eastern sky, zodiacal light can be viewed as there will be none or little moonlight in the sky. Zodiacal light is sunlight scattered by particles concentrated in the plane of the solar system. The light can be easier to view not in urban areas. You’ll be able to view this until the full moon on September 20th. It is a broad wedge of faint light rising from the horizon. If you look to the southeast and see faint light, you are not viewing zodiacal light, you are viewing the Milky Way.

In September and October with low moonlight, a dim light will appear just before sunset.
In September and October with low moonlight, a dim light will appear just before sunset.(Stellarium)

For a brief period after sunset on September 8th, the young crescent moon will be positioned a slim palm’s width to the upper right of Mercury. Mercury will be in the sky until around 8pm. An additional half hour will go by until the Moon sets. It will be difficult to see in mid-northern latitudes and easier for those in the low-northern latitudes.

A very thin crescent moon will be to the upper right of Mercury Wednesday.
A very thin crescent moon will be to the upper right of Mercury Wednesday.(Stellarium)

After sunset on September 9th, in the west-southwestern sky, the young crescent moon will be shining several finger-widths to the upper right of Venus. The main belt asteroid, Vesta, will also be nearby double the Moon’s distance from Venus. In northern latitudes, it will be difficult to view. Southern latitudes will not have an issue since nightlight arrives quickly.

The thin crescent moon will be to the upper right of Venus Thursday night.
The thin crescent moon will be to the upper right of Venus Thursday night.(Stellarium)

On September 11th, the main belt asteroid, Pallas, will reach its minimum distance to the Earth all year. Pallas will rise at sunset and set at sunrise. You can view Pallas with a backyard telescope, but wait until after 9pm when the asteroid is higher in the sky. Pallas will be situated in the western Pisces, several finger-widths to the right of Gamma Piscium. Neptune will be its closest to Earth this year a few days later.

The asteroid Pallas reaches opposition on September 11th.
The asteroid Pallas reaches opposition on September 11th.(Stellarium)

On September 12th, in the southwestern evening sky, a nearly first quarter moon will shine several finger-widths to the upper right of the reddish star, Antares, also known as the “Rival of Mars.” You can view both the Moon and Antares in the same pair of binoculars. Off to the right, you may be able to view the vertical row of scorpion’s dimmer white claw stars Graffias, Dschubbsa, and Pi Scorpii. This part of the sky will set around 10pm.

On Sunday night, the Moon will be to the upper right of the star Antares, known as the "Rival...
On Sunday night, the Moon will be to the upper right of the star Antares, known as the "Rival of Mars."(Stellarium)

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