Watching the Skies: Moon, Venus to pair up this week

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The second and third brightest celestial objects in the sky will pair up late this week.

The sun, of course, is the brightest object in the sky. The moon is the second brightest celestial object, and Venus is next. The two will meet each other in the early morning sky on Sept. 13, 14 and 15.

To see the two, look to the east before sunrise. If you have good eyesight, you may even be able to pick them out shortly after the sun has risen due to how bright they are.

The waning moon will be above Venus on Sept. 13, and just to the left of Venus on the Sept. 14. On the 15th, the very thin moon will be below and to the left of Venus. The new moon will occur on Sept. 17.

Neptune and the sun will be in opposition this week. This event will happen on Sept. 11 as the earth passes directly between the sun and Neptune. The earth and Neptune will be at their closest during this time, but Neptune is very difficult to see. Unless you have a telescope and binoculars, it won’t look like much more than a very faint star.

Through this week and this month, you’ll have a great view of the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. If you look to the northwest during the evening, the Big Dipper will be easy to pick out. Look for the handle and the bowl, then use the two outer stars in the bowl to identify the Little Dipper. The outer stars point directly to the top of the handle of the Little Dipper. Once you’ve found the handle, you’ll be able to see the rest of the dipper shape.

The handle of the Little Dipper is Polaris, better known as the North Star.

Last week was the Corn Moon, the full moon in September. Martin Powers captured this awesome photo of the full moon shining bright: