In Manx skies... September 2017 ~ compiled by Dave Storey


20th at 05.30h

First Quarter
28th at 02.54h

6th at 07.03h

Last Quarter
13th at 06.13h

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Note: All times are Universal Time (UT)
British Summer Time is now in force. Remember to add 1 hour to any times quoted here to get local IoM time.

Autumn Equinox occurs on 22nd at 20.04h.

There are no solar or lunar eclipses this month.


Solar activity is low with solar cycle 24 now in force.


Carrington's Solar Rotation number 2195 starts on the 12th at 17h28m30s.


Is a morning object, reaching greatest western elongation on 12
th when it will be 18° to the right of the Sun. On the 1st, the planet will be shining at magnitude +3.5 with a phase of 5.6% illuminated and disk size of 10 arc seconds. It will rise at 04.42h on this date. By the 12th, the planet will be at magnitude -0.3 and the phase will have increased to 44.8% and disc size down to 7.3 arc seconds. The bright star Regulus will be seen upper right of Mercury on this date with planet Mars 2.7° to the lower left of Mercury. Mars will be at a dimmer magnitude of +1.8. A close conjunction of Mars and Mercury occurs on the 16th when Mars is 3.3 arc minutes below Mercury. The actual conjunction occurs at 18.43h so is not visible from the IoM. At dawn of the morning of the 16th, Mars will be seen less than half degree lower left of Mercury. The day after conjunction on the 17th, Mars will be seen 20 arc seconds upper right of Mercury.


Will be found in the dawn skies shining at a brilliant -3.9. As seen through a telescope, the planets disc will have an apparent diameter of 12.5 arc seconds and phase of 83.4% illuminated on the 1
st. By the end of the month, the disc will have shrunk down to 11.2 arc seconds and have a phase of 90.5%. Venus will be close to the open star cluster Messier 44 in Cancer during the first few days of the month and should prove a nice binocular sight. A nice grouping of Venus with the thin crescent Moon and the star Regulus occurs on the morning of the 18th. Well worth looking at through binoculars. On the morning of the 20th, Venus will be seen about ½° to the left of the star Regulus.


Now well passed solar conjunction, Mars is viewable in the dawn skies in the east. It rises at 04.11h on the first, shining at magnitude +1.8. By the end of the month, it will be rising at 04.07h. The planet is still a great distance from Earth and will have an apparent disc size of less than 4 arc seconds, so is not a viable telescopic target. As mentioned above, Mars has a conjunction with Mercury on the 16th .


Will be low down in the west after sunset and poorly placed for viewing this month.


Is in Ophiuchus during the month shining at magnitude +0.4. It will be seen low down in the southern skies after sunset. The bright moon Titan can be seen west of the planet on the 7th ,8th 9th ,23rd ,24th and 25th . It will be east of the planet on the 15th ,16th ,17th . Saturn will be 3.6° to the lower left of the near half Moon on the evening of the 26th.


Is at opposition on the 5th and will be shining at magnitude +7.8. It will be found 1.2° to the left of the star lambda Aquarius. The Full Moon will be close by on the day of opposition.

Use the charts below to track down this planet.

The box in upper map is shown below


Piscid meteors are active during September and October. There are three nights of peak activity; 9th ,21st September and one on 13th October. The rate is low with 10 meteors (ZHR) on the 9th and 5 per hour on the 21st . Radiants for 9th and 21st are RA 00h36m Dec. +07° and 00h24m Dec. 00° respectively.

(Stars Brighter than Magnitude +6.0)

Date Time            ZC#    SAO#           Magnitude. P.A.  Type of event.    Notes

24th     18.46:35      2223      159370      +3.9           082° DD                 Gamma Libra. D*
29th     18.52:16      2886      162964      +4.3           126° DD                 56 Sagittarius

For very detailed list of occultations visible this month, click here. Data from Occult Software.

Times are UT as seen from IoMAS Observatory. Start to observe these events about 20 minutes before the above times to allow for differences in your latitude and longitude. This will give you time to locate the star that is about to be occulted.

ZC = Zodiacal Catalogue. Type of Event DD = disappearance at dark limb, RD = Reappearance at dark limb. RB = Reappearance on bright limb. PA = Position Angle around limb of the Moon, where 0 degrees is north, 90 degrees is east, 180 degrees is south and 270 degrees is west.
D* = Double Star

The above predictions were calculated from Occult software by David Herald. More information regarding this software may be found at the web site.


This star drops from magnitude +2.1 to +3.4 in about 5 hours. Suitable events visible from the Isle of Man this month occur on 6th at 02.24h, 8th at 23.12h and 29th at 00.54h. Click here for a star chart for Algol.


There are no bright comets visible this month.


The international Space Station crosses the Manx skies on a regular basis. For the latest information on when the ISS is due to pass across the sky over the next ten days, visit the link below.

ISS transit Information from Heavens

Bibliography for Manx Night Skies

The Handbook of the British Astronomical Association 2017. BAA. 2016
Stargazing 2017. Heather Couper & Nigel Henbest. Philip's 2016
2017 Guide to the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop & Wil Tirion. Collins 2016
2017: An Astronomical Year (U.K. Edition) Richard J. Bartlett. October 2016
Yearbook 2017. Sky at Night. BBC. Immediate Media Company, Bristol. 2016
2017 Yearbook of Astronomy. Richard Pearson & Brian Jones. CPI Group (UK) Limited. 2017
Observer's Handbook Meteors. Neil Bone. Philip's 1993
Atlas of the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop. Collins. 2005
Constellations. Josef Klepešta and Antonin Rükl. Hamlyn. 1979
Brilliant Stars. Patrick Moore. The Book People Ltd. 1996
Complete Guide to Stargazing. Robin Scagell. Phillip's. 2006
Turn Left at Orion. Guy Consolmango and Dan M. Davis. Cambridge U.P. 2008
Norton's 2000.0 Edited Ian Ridpath. Longman Scientific & Technical. 1989

Planetary data derived from Guide 9 Software.
Picture graphics derived from Stellarium and Guide 9 Software.