You might be able to see three bright lights in the western sky if you look up at the night sky after sunset tonight, Sept. 5. These lights are not just stars. Weather permitting, the bright star Spica and the planets Venus & Mercury will be visible.
To spot Mercury, Spica, and Venus tonight, you will need to see the western horizon. The trio will be visible very low in the western sky. Venus and Spica will be the brightest stars (actually, it's a binary star) in the Virgo constellation. However, you might have to wait a while to see Spica.
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Continue reading: Stargazing maps: September 2021 night sky highlights
After sunset on September 5, 2021, Venus and Mercury will be low in the western skies for 30 minutes. This is during September's new Moon. The bright star Spica, visible to the left and below Venus, will also be visible. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
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"At the closest approach on Sunday evening Venus shines only a thumb's breadth above (or 1.5 degrees north of) Spica," Chris Vaughan, amateur astronomer and SkySafari mobile skywatching app SkySafari, wrote in our September 2021 nightsky guide.
"Venus will appear first after sunset, but you'll need more darkness to see 100 times fainter Spica. At 8 p.m., local time, start looking. He advised that you wait until the sun has set completely before using a telescope or binoculars.
On Sept. 5, 2021, Venus will be visible near the bright star Spica. It can be seen in the western night sky. Image credit: Starry Night
Mercury will be visible at the lower right of Venus. However, this view is only a preview of what you can expect to see of the planets or the moon during September. The moon's phase will be at its new stage on Monday, Sept. 6, but it will soon become a crescent this week.
Wednesday, September 8, Mercury will be near the moon in a conjunction. It will occur at 4:18 p.m. Eastern Time (2018 GMT), when the sun still rises.
On Friday, September 10, Venus will pass the moon, providing a spectacular view. They should be visible in the southwest sky near one another.
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