Primary Moon Phases – September 2020!

Hey, Sky Fans!

What’s happening? If you can believe it, today’s September 1, so not only are we starting the last month that touches summer — the equinox is only three weeks away — but we’re also starting the last third of the year. Time flies when… the whole world is a mess…?

Well, I missed August’s, but here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for… Here’s the Moon’s primary phases for September 2020! Huzzah!

…and away we go!

The Moon's Primary Phases for September 2020
The Moon’s Primary Phases for September 2020!
  • September 2: Full Moon
  • September 10: Last Quarter / Third Quarter
  • September 17: New Moon
  • September 24: First Quarter

I got pink paper, and I’m not afraid to use it.

Yeah, so let’s see… All the times you see here are UTC, which is four hours ahead of US Eastern Daylight time. This means that full Moon happens very early tomorrow morning UTC. So, if you’re tuning in from the states, welcome. You’ll see that September 2 mull Foon (sigh…) full Moon tonight, September 1. Resist the urge to panic about this. There’s no need. Save that for next month.

What’s happening next month? I’m glad you asked. Have you noticed how the full Moons have been inching earlier in the month over the last few months? May 7, June 5, July 5, August 3, etc.? A full lunation, which is a full lunar orbit from a given phase back to the same phase again is about 29 days. Usually, we count these from new Moon back the next new Moon, but it works no matter where you are in the cycle. A lunation’s 29 days are shorter than every month except February, and they don’t care about our silly and inconsistent calendars. So, little by little the phases creep backward relative to the calendar, especially when there are 31-day months involved.

Full Moon is on the 1st-slash-2nd. So what do you think is coming up in October? Stay tuned…

Back to this month. We have the usual fun and games coming up with a couple of cool exceptions.

On the night of September 5th and 6th, the waning gibbous Moon will pass very close to Mars. Here in New York, they’ll be about a half a degree apart — that’s thinner than the width of the outstretched finger you’ll use to point it out to neighbors. If you’re farther south, though, in South America or Africa, you’ll get to see the Moon pass completely in front of Mars, blocking it out, occulting it. This is basically what happens in an eclipse, but with different characters and less shadowing. Same general idea, though.

Also, I like to look for the closest phases around the start of new seasons. There’s no science here; the Moon couldn’t care less, but I’ve done it since I was a kid, so why stop now? Sort of the same attitude I have toward playing Pitfall. I’m sure you have some things like, that, too… I know… you like looking for the big “E” of Cassiopeia every spring.

The first primary phase after the equinox, after autumn starts, is that first quarter. This month, as the Moon comes out of the evening dusk, it’ll slide past our old friends Jupiter (the “Michael” Stripey One) and Saturn (the Mostly-Yellowish-But-Still-Stripey-Too one) on the 24th and 25th, during first quarter. So right there, there’s all kinds of fun happening right before your eyes. It’ll be, to quote the movie Heathers, very.

That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by. Keep safe out there, and clear skies everyone!

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