September astronomy calendar: NASA reveals this month’s sky watching highlights

From gazing at the moon to looking to the skies to try and spot the International Space Station, astronomy is becoming ever more popular. And thanks to NASA, you won’t miss a trick this month as the US-based space agency has revealed what to look out for as the nights get longer.

Sunday, September 6 finds the Moon extremely close to Mars in the pre-dawn sky.

Fomalhaut is also fairly young, at just a few hundred million years


This planetary pair were even closer back on August 9 but this will still be a really pretty spectacle this month.

If you are up early and can step outside for a look, they will only be a couple of degrees apart.

This means they will appear in the same field of view, if you look through a pair of binoculars.

On September 13 and 14, look to the east before dawn.

You should, weather permitting, see the slim Crescent Moon slip past brilliant Venus.

Then, on September 13, you may well find the Moon hanging above that same planet.

Astronomers estimate approximately 20 percent of the Moon’s face will be illuminated.

Them, by the next morning, the Moon has moved yet again.

Earth’s nearest neighbour will now reside to the left of Venus.

The lunar orb will now only about 10 percent of its sunlit surface visible.

Looking towards the south, there is really only one relatively bright star.

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For the majority of people who live in or near cities, this star is Fomalhaut.

NASA said in a statement: “Fomalhaut has got a pretty interesting story.

“The star is approximately 25 light years away. This means the star is actually relatively close to Earth.

“Fomalhaut is also fairly young, at just a few hundred million years.

“And it is still surrounded by a disk of debris – a common feature for star during their planet-forming phase.”

Fomalhaut was the first star to have a planet detected by direct imaging.

This was achieved by NASA’s iconic Hubble Space Telescope.

Fomalhaut can be found lying low in the south, a couple of hours after sunset, to the left of Saturn and Jupiter.

Since it is both bright and low in the sky, it sometime appears to flicker from atmospheric turbulence.

NASA also details the phases of the Moon for September 2020:

September 2: Full Moon

September 10: Third quarter Moon

September 17: New Moon

September 23: First quarter Moon

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