September 9, 2022: Mars continues its eastward march through the bright starfields of Taurus. The Harvest Moon is between Jupiter and Saturn after sunset.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:25 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:10 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Each evening through September 14, the moon’s rising time difference from night-to-night is 25 minutes or less. This is from the Harvest Moon effect. The Full moon officially occurs tomorrow morning at 4:59 a.m. CDT.
The short interval of moonrise each evening is from the angle the solar system makes with the eastern horizon. The moon steps about 13° each day relative to the stars, but not the same distance compared to the horizon. The solar system’s angle with the horizon, makes the moon move somewhat parallel to the imaginary line that separates the land from the sky. The result is that the moon appears rather soon compared to the previous night’s rising.
Traditionally, the evening moonlight helped farmers gather their ripened crops during the harvest season, and the namesake of this month’s full moon.
Here are the planet highlights for today:
One hour before sunup, Mars is high in the east-southeast, to the upper left of Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus. Mars and Aldebaran are nearly the same color, with a rusty red tint, although the planet is brighter.
Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster make a letter “V” for the Bull’s head. Mars seems to extend the “V” above the star Epsilon Tauri (ε Tau on the charts).
Look at the region with a binocular. Mars and the “V” still fit into the same field.
Mars continues its eastward march through the constellation. Its change from morning to morning is easy to notice. After looking at Mars with the Bull’s head, move the binocular up and to the left slightly, but include Epsilon in the field of view. Mars is moving generally toward Tau Tauri (τ Tau), passing it 1.8° to the lower right of the star in three mornings. The stars Kappa Tauri (κ Tau) and Upsilon Tauri (υ Tau) are in the field of view as well.
At this hour, bright Jupiter is about one-third of the way up in the west-southwest.
This morning Venus rises at the time on the morning diagrams for this article. Fifteen minutes later it is low in the east-northeast.
At one hour after sunset, the Full moon is low in the east-southeast, about midway from Saturn to Jupiter. The Ringed Wonder is about 20° up in the southeast, over 20° to the upper right of the lunar orb. Jupiter is near the horizon in the east, over 20° to the lower left of the moon.
Saturn leads the worlds westward. Mars rises in the east-northeast about four hours after sunset. At this time, Saturn is in the south; the moon is in the south-southeast; and Jupiter is in the southeast.
March 2, 2023: Venus opens a gap on Jupiter in the west-southwest after their conjunction last night. The moon is near Pollux after sundown. Mars marches eastward against Taurus.Keep reading
February 28, 2023: One night before their close conjunction, Venus approaches Jupiter in the west-southwest after sundown. The moon is near the horns of Taurus with Mars nearby.Keep reading