2022, September 11: Moon, Jupiter, Mars in Taurus


September 11, 2022: The moon and Jupiter can be seen together throughout the night.  Mars continues its eastward march with Taurus.  Use a binocular to see it in the constellation’s rich starfields.

2020, December 3: One hour before sunrise, the bright gibbous moon is over 30° in altitude in the west. It is near central Gemini beneath the Twins, Castor and Pollux.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

This evening, the moon rises just 23 minutes later than it did last night. This is from the angle the solar system makes with the eastern horizon, from mid-northern latitudes.  This is known as the Harvest Moon effect.  This evening the moon rises nearly an hour after sundown.

The effect can be seen at any moon phase, when the origin point of the celestial coordinate system is near the eastern horizon, and the moon is near it.  It is pronounced with the Full phase and the public’s annual interest in the Harvest Moon.

Here are the planet highlights for today:

Morning Sky


Chart Caption – 2022, September 11: During morning twilight, the bright moon is below Jupiter.

One day after the Full moon phase, the lunar orb, 99% illuminated, is low in the west-southwest, nearly 5° below Jupiter at one hour before sunrise.

The Jovian Giant is retrograding in Pisces.  This effect is an illusion as Earth catches and passes between the distant planet and the sun, known as opposition.  Jupiter’s opposition is on the 26th.  It rises shortly after sunset and it is above the horizon nearly all night.

For those sky watchers with telescopes, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is in the center of the planet in the southern hemisphere at about 2:30 a.m. CDT.  The long-lived atmospheric disturbance is visible about 50 minutes before and after the central appearance.

Chart Caption – 2022, September 11: Mars is high in the south-southeast with Taurus before sunrise.

Farther eastward, Mars continues its eastward march through the bright starfields of Taurus.  Find it high in the south-southeast about an hour before sunup.  It is to the upper left of Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster.

With the bright moon, the dimmer stars are likely washed out by the bright moonlight.  Use a binocular for an optical assist.

Chart Caption – 2022, September 11: In a binocular field of view, Mars approaches Tau Tauri (τ Tau).

It is generally moving toward the star Tau Tauri (τ Tau on the chart), passing it tomorrow morning.  Use a binocular to place Epsilon Tauri (ε Tau) in the lower right portion of the field of view.  This star is at the top of the “V” of Taurus, opposition Aldebaran.  Tau and Mars are to the upper left of Epsilon.


After Mars passes Tau, the planet moves toward the Bull’s horns – Elnath and Zeta Tauri.  The Red Planet passes between them three times during the next half year.  The first occurs October 17th, before the planet retrogrades.  The second occurs November 13th during Mars’ retrograde.  On March 11, 2023, Mars passes between the stars for the third time after its December 7th opposition.

Are you missing Venus?  The Morning Star rises less than an hour before sunrise.  By 35 minutes before daybreak, it is only 3° above the eastern horizon.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2022, September 11: The bright moon is near Jupiter in the eastern sky, while Saturn is above the southeastern horizon.

Ninety minutes after sunset, the bright moon, 96% illuminated, is low in the eastern sky, 6.1° to the lower left of Jupiter.

Saturn is higher in the sky, over 20° up in the southeast.  This planet is retrograding in eastern Capricornus.  It was at opposition about a month ago.



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