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09/21/2022 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

September 21, 2022

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, September 21st. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 13 minutes, setting at 7:41, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:29. The Moon, halfway from last quarter to new, will rise at 3:38 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Only one of the naked-eye planets is in the evening sky. Mercury is south of the Sun and cannot be seen. It will pass between the Earth and Sun on Friday and enter the morning sky. As it gets darker, Saturn can be seen in the southeast. Jupiter, though not officially an evening planet, will rise in the east in twilight at 7:54 pm. It is seen against the stars of Pisces now, moving slowly retrograde or westward. At 6:30 am tomorrow, two of the three remaining morning planets will be Mars high in the south, above the winter constellation of Orion, and Jupiter very low in the west. The thin waning crescent Moon will be in the east then. Venus will rise at 6:47 into bright twilight.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.


Jupiter and Saturn at 9 pm

Jupiter and Saturn at 9 pm tonight, September 21, 2022. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets and waning crescent Moon

Animation of the morning planets and the waning crescent Moon at 6:30 am tomorrow, September 22, 2022. Star labels are shown alternately, since they clutter the image. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The waning crescent Moon as it might be seen in binoculars or a small telescope. The dark area on the left side of the Moon is Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms). The dark spot near the bottom of the Moon is the crater Grimaldi. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic views of Saturn Jupiter and Mars

Telescopic views of Saturn Jupiter and Mars (north up) as they would be seen in a small telescope, with the same magnification. The times vary for each planet. Jupiter is shown twice, at 9 pm and 6:30 am, since its moons, especially Io and Europa, move rapidly. I do not show planets less than 10 seconds of arc in diameter. Apparent diameters: Saturn 18.33″, its rings 42.69″; Jupiter 49.85″. Mars 11.21″, 86.6% illuminated. Mars’ distance is 78 million miles (125 million kilometers). The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

In the above chart, it may appear that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot didn’t move very much. However, the 9.5 hours between the images is a bit less than one Jovian day, so the spot actually made almost one complete rotation. In this view, features on the face of Jupiter rotate from left to right. Satellites behave similarly. They move left to right if in front of the planet, and right to left if behind.

Planets and the Moon on a single night

The naked-eye planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise on a single night, starting with sunset on the right on September 21, 2022. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 22nd. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using my LookingUp program and GIMP.

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