Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

This Month's Star Chart

By Sydney Observatory

Your map of the night sky this month.

HIGHLIGHTS IN SEPTEMBER 2018

The spring equinox occurs on the 23rd of September, which marks the movement of the sun over the equator from the northern to the southern part of the
sky. The best time to look at the Moon with a small telescope or binoculars is a few days either side of its first quarter phase, which falls on the 17th. Saturn is high in the north in Sagittarius (the Archer), Mars is in the northeast in Capricornus (the Sea Goat), Jupiter is in the northwest in Libra (the Scales) and Venus is in the west in Virgo (the Maiden). To the south-west is the constellation Crux (the Southern Cross), which can be easily located using the two nearby stars commonly referred to as the Pointer Stars.

HIGHLIGHTS IN OCTOBER 2018

The best time to look at the Moon with a small telescope or binoculars is a few days either side of its first quarter phase, which falls on the 17th of October. Saturn is high in the west in the constellation Sagittarius (the Archer). Jupiter is low in the west with Venus which will disappear below the horizon by month’s end. Mercury is also low in the west but will appear higher in the sky as the month progresses. To the south-west is the constellation Crux (the Southern Cross), which can be easily located using the two nearby stars commonly referred to as the Pointer Stars. The brighter of the two Pointer Stars, Alpha Centauri, is the closest star system to our own. Scorpius (the Scorpion) is also high in the west.