Arts Events Leisure | Parenting and Education | People and Places
September provides a feast for the eyes
by NERIDA LANGCAKE, Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society
NERIDA LANGCAKE, Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society

The Helix Nebula, also known as NGC 7293, is a planetary nebula located in the constellation Aquarius. At 650 light-years away, this is one of our closest bright planetary nebulae. Photo by MPAS member Steven Mohr

Be sure to enjoy the rich regions of Scorpius and Ophiuchus this month before they sink below the western horizon. Just above them lies an area around the heart of the Milky Way that’s brimming with star clusters and bright nebulae. In contrast, the eastern half of the sky is relatively empty, although you can still find several constellations, including Pisces, the Fishes; Cetus, the Whale; and Eridanus, the River.

Lying in the constellation Tucana, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) can be found close to the beautiful globular cluster 47 Tucanae, also known as NGC 104, which is a must-see target in the September southern skies. It is visible to the naked eye as a hazy star, while a small telescope shows its bright centre and many of its glittering stars. This cluster is 15,000 light-years away. Other visible targets include the globular clusters M22 in Sagittarius, NGC 6397 in Ara, and M4 in Scorpius. The open clusters M6 and M7 in Scorpius are also visible.

There are a few interesting targets at the moment in Aquarius. The globular cluster M2 appears as a fuzzy star through binoculars and is near the star Beta Aquarii. And the planetary nebula NGC 7293, the Helix Nebula, appears as a faint fuzzy disc through a small telescope. Another globular cluster, M15 in Pegasus, is thought to be 13.2 billion years old and can be picked out with binoculars, while a small telescope shows it clearly.

On September 9, Mercury and the crescent moon will be close together in the evening sky. On September 10, the crescent moon and Venus nearby form a triangle with the bright star Spica. Then on September 17 the waxing moon is near Saturn, and the next night is near Jupiter. On September 23 the Earth is at Equinox, which is when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal.

For further information about the Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society, such as public stargazing nights, event bookings and membership, please visit the society’s Facebook page, or website at

Join our VIP club

Automatically go in the draw for a monthly members only prize!

Receive occasional emails to update you on events and special member offers, plus every month a link to Mornington Peninsula Magazine e-version days before it is released.

Opt out at any time. We promise, no spam!

Advertise with us

Target the affluent and discerning consumer who prefers local products and services.  Showcase your brand in Mornington Peninsula Magazine, online and on social media with one booking.

List your event

No matter what type of event you want to promote we have an option to suit your event size and budget.