Click on the monthly image to get a larger high resolution view of the night sky set for 53° N (Horncastle, England) but is usable for the UK and Eire. All charts are set for the 1st of the month at 22:00 GMT (10pm) and can be used on the other dates and times shown in each corner of the chart.
Solar System quick summary
For most charts see the buttons at the top for various planets etc.. Charts & images in the text can be clicked to give a larger view.
Jupiter and Saturn are the main planets of the evening skies with Neptune and Uranus not far behind. Neptune is at opposition on the 10th becoming viewable all night. Ceres is faint but passes north of Antares on the 10th, whilst Pluto is also viewable with a large telescope and it lies not far from Saturn. Vesta is in the morning sky in Taurus. Mars is in conjunction with the Sun on the 2nd and so not viewable. Venus and Mercury have a close conjunction on the 13th but are lost in the solar glare all month. The September Perseids meteor shower peaks on the 9th and is best viewed early on the next morning once the moon has set.
Jupiter during 2019
Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system rlies in the evening SW sky and shines at mag -
Its main features as seen in a telescope are shown at right and considerable detail can be viewed with care and patience. The Great Red Spot often looks paler than images suggest and you should remember that at some times the other side of the planet may be turned towards us so the GRS may not be visible. At the time of writing this web page, the GRS is undergoing a dramatic shrinking and substantial change so do keep an eye on it!
Using a binocular or small telescope look out for the four Galilean moons (above) as they wheel about the planet in their orbits, as a bonus. Now that Jupiter is at opposition it will become an easier target in the evening sky for those who don’t like early mornings!
The image at left is a composite taken of Jupiter and Saturn on June 28th/29th 2019 and shows their sizes to scale using an 8 inch SCT telescope. Saturn is roughly twice as far away as Jupiter from us and so looks half the size but makes up for it with its ring system.
Saturn during 2019
With Saturn at opposition in July it remains a good time to look at it with a small telescope. The main features are shown here at right with a dusky belt on the planets disk and two distinct Rings,, ‘A’ and ‘B’ with a gap between them that depends on atmospheric condition as to how well you see it. The ‘C’ ring is much harder and quite diffuse but often the polar hood does stand out as slightly darker than the rest of the planets disk. Something else to look for but not close to opposition is the shadow of the planet on the rings as seen in the authors image at right. At opposition the rings themselves can be noticeably brighter so worth keeping an eye out for any changes on the approach up to and just after opposition.
Saturn is not alone and has a retinue of moons some of which can be viewed in telescopes. A large binocular or small telescope will show Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, whilst Rhea, Tethys, Dione and Iapetus need larger telescopes. Titan’s path and dates E & W are in the table here covering May through to September so why not watch out for it?
Whilst Jupiter and Saturn get all the limelight in the evenings skies they are no longer the only gas giant planets on view in the evenings as Neptune now reaches opposition on the 10th. Although much fainter than the other pair, it has the advantage of being higher up the ecliptic and so is better placed to view as it climbs higher into the sky compared with Jupiter & Saturn. The chart above shows Neptune’s path from Sept 1st until Oct 31st. It is now magnitude 7.8 and on the 1st it is closing the gap on the much brighter star (mag 4) Phi Aqr.
It lies to the left of the star on the evening/morning of the 5th/6th and the other side of Phi on the 6th/7th depending on when you prefer to observe it. But there is an added bonus if you have a large telescope or decent imaging setup. The view at right is set for 3am on the 6th & 7th and is greatly magnified (x600!) But it shows Neptune’s largest moon, Triton as well. On the 6th Triton (mag 13.4) lies above the planet and next morning it lies to the upper left of Neptune so see if you can spot it.
Back in the early evening sky and the moon forms a nice triangle with Jupiter and Antares on the 5th as shown at left. It then lies the other side of Jupiter on the 6th, lies to the far right of Saturn the next evening before being closer to it on the 8th. Look around 9pm towards the S to SW, the moon should be easy to spot if it is not hidden by buildings or trees!
In this part of the neighbourhood we also find Ceres which is almost mag 9, so faint, yet still visible in a large binocular or telescope. On the 3rd / 4th it lies above and close to the globular cluster M80 which is mag 7.3 for a nice photo opportunity. The moon lies above it on the 5th when it forms a triangle with Jupiter (not shown) and Antares, note the moon is shown to scale. Ceres passes close to and north of mag 5, Rho Ophiuchi on the 12th then three days later is technically in conjunction with Antares and lies 3 degrees north of the bright orange star. All the while as it moves, it is trying to catch up with Jupiter which still keeps ahead of the minor world.
As a bonus, whilst you view this area, take a look at the globular cluster M4 (mag 5.4). If it was higher in our sky then it would probably be considered better than M13!
On the night of the 9th/10th the September Epsilon Perseids peak. Interestingly, the radiant on the morning of the 10th is closer to Beta than Epsilon! The best viewing conditions are after the moon has set around 2am looking high up towards the east, but meteor rates are quite low at ZHR of 5. However there may be a small chance of an outburst so, as this shower needs more monitoring, I encourage anyone to keep a look out for them -
Also look out for the following:
3rd Crescent moon lies to upper right of Alpha Librae (evening twilight)
4th Crescent moon lies close to and below Gamma Librae (evening)
11th Moon forms triangle with Gamma and Delta Capricorni (evening)
13th Moon lies below Neptune, also forms a curved line with Psi 1,2 and 3 Aqr
17th Moon lies below Uranus (late evening)
19th Moon forms triangle with M45 and Aldebaran as they rise (late evening)
20th Moon lies to left of Aldebaran as they rise (late evening)
24th Crescent moon forms shallow curve with Castor and Pollux (morning)
26th Slim crescent moon lies above Regulus (morning twilight)
Clear skies and happy sky watching.
Webmaster © Paul L Money 2019
The UK & Ireland Night Sky for 2019
The Autumnal Equinox occurs on September 23rd at 07:50 GMT (08:50 BST). Astronomical Autumn officially begins in the N. Hemisphere whilst Astronomical Spring begins in the S. Hemisphere.
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