Jeffers Foundation



September, 2018

When you are named after the Messenger god, you better be fast! Circling the Sun in just 88 days, Mercury moves quickly from east to west. Like Venus, Mercury reaches several benchmarks in its orbit, as seen from the Earth. Greatest Western Elongation is when it is furthest west of the Sun and Greatest Eastern Elongation is when it reaches its eastern limit. These points offer the best chance to see Mercury. In August, it will be 18 degrees west of the Sun, and in November, 23 degrees to the east. When Mercury is in line with the Sun and Earth, it is said to be in conjunction. Inferior Conjunction is when it passes between the Earth and the Sun, while Superior Conjunction is when it is behind the Sun.

Morning Sky

Mercury starts the month far from the Sun, having just passed Greatest Elongation. True to its name sake, it quickly reaches Superior Conjunction on September 20, passing behind the Sun as seen from the Earth.

Evening Sky

In the beginning of the month, Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn are all lined up across the south, 30 minutes after sunset. Venus is low in the west-southwest at 7.5 degrees altitude, Jupiter in the southwest at 18 degrees, Saturn in the south at 22 degrees, and Mars in the south-southeast at 12 degrees. Venus pulls away from the ecliptic, as it follows its orbit toward Inferior Conjunction next month. This makes the Moon's pass on September 12 not even that close. Jupiter gets a Lunar visit on September 13, Saturn on September 17, and Mars on September 19.

Sun Declination


2nd, Last Quarter Moon - 9:37 pm

3rd, Moon near Aldebaran rising in northeast - Before midnight

7th, Moon perigee (224,533 miles) - 8:19 pm

9th, New Moon Wild Rice (Ojibwe) - 1:01 pm

16th, First Quarter Moon - 6:15 pm

19th, Moon apogee (251,578 miles) - 7:53 pm

22nd, Autumnal equinox; fall begins N Hemisphere - 8:54 pm

24th, Full Moon - 9:52 pm

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