This month, the full moon gets company from the planets in our solar system.
The name of the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, “Harvest Moon”, reflects that September was the beginning of the harvest season in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Europe.
The September full moon will be accompanied by a close encounter with Saturn on September 8 and Jupiter on September 11. In New York, the Moon will be in Aquarius and will rise on the evening of September 10th at 7:45 pm. (will open in a new tab) The point at which it is officially full is just before moonset in the morning, which happens at 6:29 am local time. The moon sets the next morning at 7:42.
Related: Brightest planets in September night sky: how to see them (and when)
A full moon occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. Technically, its celestial longitude is 180 degrees from the sun in the sky. The Moon’s orbit is tilted about five degrees from the plane of the Earth’s orbit, so although the Moon is “behind” the Earth, it is not in the Earth’s shadow every time it orbits our planet. In cases where it passes through the Earth’s shadow, we see a lunar eclipse, but this time there will be none (the next eclipse is expected on the night of November 7-8).
If you’re looking for binoculars or a telescope to see the full moon, our guides to the best binoculars and the best telescopes have options to help you. If you’re in need of photography equipment, check out our best astrophotography cameras and best astrophotography lenses to prepare for your next visit to the planet.
Moon conjunct Saturn
On September 8, the Moon will approach Saturn when it is in conjunction with the planet at 6:31 am EDT. (will open in a new tab). The moon sets in New York at 3:56 AM EST, so the conjunction itself is not visible, but the moon rises at 6:12 pm on September 7th and Saturn rises at 6:17 pm. are within about 4 degrees of each other, and by about 8 pm both will be about 20 degrees above the southeast horizon. Saturn will be to the left of the Moon (as viewed by Northern Hemisphere observers).
(Image credit: Starry Night Software) (will open in a new tab)
The conjunction itself will be visible in the Pacific time zone and points to the west, where it will occur before the moon sets. For example, in San Francisco, the moon sets at 4:28 AM, about an hour after the conjunction at 3:31 AM local time. The moon will be low in the southwest, about 8 degrees high, and Saturn will be above it and to the right. From Honolulu, the conjunction will occur at 00:31 local time on September 8, and since Hawaii is further south, the Moon and Saturn will be higher in the sky – the Moon will be 41 degrees south and Saturn will be 45 degrees.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the connection will be visible in New Zealand and Australia on the evening of September 8th. The Kiwis will see conjunction at 10:31 pm local time, with the Moon and Saturn at 65 and 62 degrees north. at the same time, it seems that the moon passes directly over the planet surrounded by a ring. Residents of Sydney, Australia will see the connection two hours earlier at 8:31 p.m., when the pair is as high but closer to the northeast.
Jupiter close pass
On September 11, our satellite will fly past Jupiter, although in this case for residents of America and Western Europe it will happen in the afternoon, at 11:16 ET. (will open in a new tab). However, the Moon will still be close to the planet when it rises in New York at 8:09 pm ET. By 21:30 you will be able to see Jupiter (which rises at 19:50). (will open in a new tab)) to the right of the moon, which will be low in the east.
(Image credit: Starry Night Software) (will open in a new tab)
This conjunction will be visible if the person is in New Delhi or points to the east, where the moon will pass less than two degrees. (will open in a new tab) Jupiter at 20:46 local time; moonrise at 19:23. The Moon will be just below and to the right of Jupiter and about 17 degrees above the horizon in the east. When moving east, the conjunction occurs later, so the pair is higher in the sky – in Bangkok this occurs at 22:16 local time, when Jupiter and the Moon are 42 degrees above the eastern horizon.
Watching a full moon is fairly easy, even with small binoculars or a telescope, but sometimes it can be hard to see fine details on the surface because it’s so bright and the lack of shadows reduces contrast. A full moon means that the sun is directly overhead from the perspective of a person standing on the moon, so sometimes it’s best to wait a day or two after the full moon, or watch one or two days before the full moon.
However, binoculars or a small telescope will show some of Mary’s details, dark spots on the Moon’s surface that give the appearance of a “man on the Moon”. This figure is from European legends, which say that he was a man exiled to the moon. (will open in a new tab) to collect sticks on the Sabbath. While Europeans tend to see a human face, East Asian and many Native American traditions refer to the figure as a rabbit.
On the night of the full moon, other planets become visible much later, on September 10th. For example, March rises at 10:56 pm in New York. (will open in a new tab) (the time of its rise will be similar in other cities of the middle northern latitudes). In the constellation Taurus, it will be paired with Aldebaran on the right – both of them are the same color, with Mars having a brighter reddish hue.
Venus, meanwhile, is lost in the glow of the predawn sky; in New York, the planet rises at 5:36 am on September 11th. (will open in a new tab)and the sun rises at 6:32 AM ET. (will open in a new tab) This means that even a bright planet will be difficult to capture.
Mercury is lost in the sunshine; it rises in the afternoon (at 8:26 am ET) and sets at 7:40 pm, just 30 minutes after sunset.
The constellations visible in September are still mostly summer; in the early evening, around 8 pm, the Summer Triangle is still visible near the zenith. Scorpio and Sagittarius will be in the south. As night falls on September 10, summer stars will set and autumn stars will rise; by midnight, Pegasus and Andromeda will be high above the eastern horizon. Pegasus can be recognized by the “Great Square”, which is an asterism representing the wings of the legendary winged horse and the head of Andromeda (which will be the star in the right corner).
September full moon around the world
Native North Americans had many different associations and names for the September moon and the full moon. According to the Ontario Native Literacy Project, the Cree called it the Rutting Moon because the elk begin to wear the velvet off their antlers in September ahead of mating season, while the Ojibwe called it the Moon of Falling Leaves. The Cherokee called it Nut Moon when many of the trees began to bear fruit. In the Pacific Northwest, the Tlingit called the lunar month of September the Moon of Young Animals, and the Haida called the month “cedar bark for hats and baskets.”
In the southern hemisphere, September falls in the spring, the days are getting warmer. For the Maori, the lunar month begins at the new moon, so the full moon falls around the middle of the lunar month of August-September, and they called it Mahuru: “The earth has now found warmth, as well as vegetation and trees.” according to Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
Editor’s Note: If you have an amazing photo of the full moon that you’d like to share for a possible story or image gallery, you can send images and comments to spacephotos@.
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