2020, September 4: Morning Star Venus, Mars, Orion

Mars in Pisces, September 4, 2020
2020, September 4: Mars is 2.1° to the upper left of Nu Piscium (ν Psc) and 2.6° to the lower left of Omicron Piscium (ο Psc).

Morning Star Venus, bright Mars, and the constellation Orion shine from the skies this morning.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

With the bright moon in the sky, outside the frame of the image, Mars shines brightly from the dim stars of Pisces.  The planet is slowly stepping eastward in the constellation, to the left in the photo. 

Tomorrow evening (September 5) and the following morning, the bright moon appears near Mars

On September 9, the planet seems to reverse its direction and begins to move westward compared to the stars.  This retrograde motion is an illusion as our faster moving planet approaches the Red Planet.

Mars, September 2020
Mars Begins Retrograde: During September, Mars begins its retrograde motion east of Nu Piscium (ν Psc). It reverses its direction and ends the month near Mu Piscium (μ Psc).

The chart above shows the motion of Mars compared to the stars during September. 

Earth and Mars are closest on October 6.  Earth passes between the sun and Mars on October 13. During the next month the planet continues to grow in brightness and apparent size through a telescope, although unlike what is shown in the social media memes.

Venus moves into Cancer, September 4, 2020
2020, September 4: Venus moves into Cancer to the lower right of Castor and Pollux, the Gemini Twins.

Farther east, brilliant Morning Star Venus shines brightly from below Castor and Pollux, the Gemini Twins.  This morning it moves into the dimmer stars of Cancer.  In 10 days, the crescent moon joins Venus as it moves near the Beehive star cluster.

Orion Rising, September 4, 2020
2020, September 4: Orion, with its bright stars Betelgeuse and Rigel, rise into the late-summer morning sky.

Orion rises in the southeast this morning.  Its bright stars, Betelgeuse and Rigel, mark opposite corners of the famous star pattern.  In the clear skies this morning, the Orion Nebula (M42 on the photo) stands out. (The short time exposure reveals some color that is not visible, even with a binocular.)

Here is a daily summary about the planets during September.

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