Astronomy Calendar

This calendar of celestial events is frequently updated.
Check out what's happening in the sky this fall!
The sun dipping below the horizon on the summer solstice.

    • September 1Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 21:23 AST. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Corn Moon because the corn is harvested around this time of year.
    • September 11Neptune at Opposition. The blue giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Neptune. Due to its extreme distance from Earth, it will only appear as a tiny blue dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
    • September 17New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 03:00 AST. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
    • September 22September Equinox. The September equinox occurs at 05:30 AST. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere.
    • October 1Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 13:06 AST. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Hunters Moon because at this time of year the leaves are falling and the game is fat and ready to hunt. It has also been known as the Travel Moon and the Blood Moon. This full moon is also known as the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the September equinox each year.
    • October 1Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of 25.8 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.
    • October 7Draconids Meteor Shower. The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other showers. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the the night of the 7th. The second quarter moon will ensure dark skies in the early evening for what should be a good show. Best viewing will be in the early evening from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
    • October 13Mars at Opposition. The red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Mars. A medium-sized telescope will allow you to see some of the dark details on the planet's orange surface.
    • October 16New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 11:32 AST. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
    • October 21, 22Orionids Meteor Shower. The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. It peaks this year on the night of the 21st and the morning of of the 22nd. The waxing crescent moon will set before midnight leaving dark skies for what should be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
    • October 29, 30Southern Taurids Meteor Shower. The Southern Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. This shower is, however, famous for producing a higher than normal percentage of bright fireballs. The Southern Taurids is produced by debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from September 10 to November 20. It peaks this year on the the night of the 29th and morning of the 30th. The nearly full moon will block out all but the brightest meteors this year. If you are patient, you may still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
    • October 31Full Moon, Blue Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 06:51 AST. Since this is the second full moon in the same month, it is sometimes referred to as a blue moon. This rare calendar event only occurs every few months, giving rise to the term "once in a blue moon".
    • October 31Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.

 When it starts to get dark, don't forget to check the aurora forecast!

Use star wheels and astrolabes to find celestial bodies!
Sea and Sky has a yearly calendar to help you plan future outings.

Check the weather on Mars! Brought to you by the InSight lander.A meteor shower in the night sky.
Top Image: Midnight Sun by H. Robertsson. Bottom image: Perseids Meteor Shower NASA/JPL. .


 

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This project was funded under NASA cooperative agreement NNX16AL65A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
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