best time to see:

21 September, 00:00 BST

@ Relative sizes

How the planets will appear this month

The phase, tilt and relative sizes of the planets in September, Each planet is shown with south at the top, to show what it looks like through a telescope venus 1 september

jupiter 21 september mercury is september mercury 30 september uranus 15 september

à neptune

15 september saturn 1 september venus 30 september mars 15 september

0 to" 20" 30" 40" 50" v arc seconds

jupiter in september 87654321012345678

Try and spot the crescent of Venus during the day this month

Try and spot the crescent of Venus during the day this month altitude: 36° location: Pisces direction: South

One word sums up Jupiter this month: stunning! The planet will appear at its largest and brightest when it reaches opposition on the 21st. It's heading towards perihelion in March 2011, the point in its orbit when Jupiter is closest to the Sun. This means that the almost 50-arcsecond-wide disc Jupiter presents now, just six months away from perihelion, is near to the maximum size possible. A telescope will show a wealth of detail on the planet's disc, including the Great Red Spot and the major cloud belts. And watch out for the possible return of the missing South Equatorial Belt.

Jupiter currently lies in Pisces, southeast of the Circlet asterism, and at mag. -2.7 is difficult to miss. Using a low magnification, the planet's disc is obvious and will be surrounded by up to four Galilean moons. If you can't see four, then one or more are either behind the planet being eclipsed, or passing in front of Jupiter. Use our graphic on the right to find out where each one is on a given date.

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