What's Up - September 2015

It's the start of spring and with night time temperatures starting to rise a little why not get out under the stars again if the cold of winter had put your astronomy activities into hibernation. The centre of our Milky Way is blazing directly overhead just after it gets dark. 
The first half of the month is a great time to observe the closest planet to our Sun. Mercury is in Virgo below the 1st magnitude star Spica and is at its greatest eastern elongation from the Sun of 27 degrees on the 4th. Venus returns as the morning star this month and will stay in the dawn sky until June next year. Mars is visible in the eastern dawn sky and NO it will NOT appear as big as the Moon despite what you may have seen on the internet. Jupiter also returns to the eastern dawn sky and by months end will join Venus and Mars in Leo. Saturn is visible high in the west just after dark and sets before midnight. Uranus rises in the east just after astronomical dusk as it heads towards opposition next month. Neptune is at opposition this month on the 1st and is visible all night long.