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Night Sky News: Moon Joins Jupiter and Stellar Jewels

Stargazers, especially those new to the hobby, are in for a real treat as the Moon acts as a convenient guidepost to some real sky showpieces the next few nights.

First on September 16th after local 11 pm,  look for the waning gibbous Moon rising in the low eastern horizon. It will be  pairing up with the largest planet in the entire solar system, Jupiter. The gas giant, located some 680 million kilometers away shines like bright creamy colored star to the lower left of Luna. The cosmic pair will look striking to the naked eye but binoculars or telescopes will reveal details in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter- even showing off its four largest moons. If you get clouded out – no worries- you get another chance to see the Moon next to Jupiter the next night, September 18. The Moon will now have jumped to the upper left side of the planet.

Looking east on September 18th the moon pairs with the Pleiades star cluster

By Sept.18th the Moon will tuck under the most brilliant and famous star cluster in the entire sky, the Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster. With up to seven stars visible to the naked eye in suburban skies, and scores more through binoculars, the Pleiades is 400 light years away and is one of the closest clusters to Earth.  Try using binoculars to cut through the lunar glare to see details in this cosmic jewel box.

On September 19 the Moon will pair up with the lead star in the constellation Taurus, the Bull.

Finally by September 19th the Moon will join one of the brightest stars in the entire heavens, Aldebaran. A golden star sitting 65 light years away, it is the lead member in the constellation Taurus, and  represents the eye of the celestial bull.

Andrew Fazekas, aka The Night Sky Guy, is a science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer who loves to share his passion for the wonders of the universe through all media. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic News and is the national cosmic correspondent for Canada’s Weather Network TV channel, space columnist for CBC Radio network, and a consultant for the Canadian Space Agency. As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Andrew has been observing the heavens from Montreal for over a quarter century and has never met a clear night sky he didn’t like.





  1. […] September 16 to 19 watch the moon join Jupiter and some stellar jewels. Get your details from my National Geographic story. Bookmark Posted in Planets, Solar System | No Comments […]

  2. Jupiter « dropitintheocean
    September 17, 2011, 11:50 am

    […] like it. Or you might not. But you should come.” I can’t find the band online. But it was Jupiter. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  3. Eve
    Va beach
    September 16, 2011, 9:24 pm

    that reminds me about the verse “Immediately after the distress of those days

    “ ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;

    the stars will fall from the sky,

    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ (Matthew 24:29 NIV84)

  4. Maria Theresa Malbarosa-Maturan
    Southern Asia
    September 16, 2011, 8:16 pm

    I have always been amazed by the beauty of the skyline! Technology has provided our present generation with the means to further explore the night skies without necessarily taking off to space. These revealing patterns are better enhanced with the presence of Earth’s natural satellite, the bright Moon. . . So beautiful!!! ;D