This is the Griffith Observatory Sky Report through September 20, 2017. Here’s what’s happening in the skies of southern California.
The planet Jupiter is only briefly visible starting about half an hour after sunset. It can then be located about 16 degrees above the western horizon. The giant planet sets at 8:32 p.m. on the 13th and at 8:08 p.m. on the 20th.
The ringed planet Saturn, in the constellation Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer, is first visible a little west of the southern meridian during evening twilight. NASA’s Cassini mission, having orbited Saturn since 2004, will come to a grand conclusion early on the morning of Friday the 15th, when the spacecraft makes a planned plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere. Saturn is currently featured through Griffith Observatory’s public telescopes.
The waning crescent moon is visible in the morning sky through the 19th, on which date it becomes new. The moon appears above the brightest planet, Venus, on the 17th, between Venus and the orange-hued planet Mars on the 18th, and below the innermost planet, Mercury, on the 19th.
Free views of the Sun during the day and of the moon, planets, and other celestial objects at night are available to the public in clear weather through Griffith Observatory’s telescopes from Tuesday through Sunday, before 9:30 p.m. Check our website for the schedule. The next free public star party on the grounds of Griffith Observatory, hosted by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, the Sidewalk Astronomers, and the Planetary Society, will take place on Saturday, September 30th.
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From Griffith Observatory, I’m Anthony Cook, and I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.