Events for September 2017

The following table gives the date and time of important astronomical events for September 2017.

The time of each event is given in Greenwich Mean Time or GMT (a.k.a. Universal Time or UT). To convert GMT to Eastern Standard Time (EST) just subtract 5 hours. To convert GMT to other time zones, visit Time Zones. Some of the astronomical terms used in the calendar are explained in Definitions.

 Date    GMT   Astronomical Events for September 2017
------  -----  --------------------------------------------
Sep 01  06:08  Venus 1.4°S of Beehive
Sep 04  18:41  Moon at Descending Node 
Sep 05  00     Mercury 3.2° of Mars
Sep 05  04     Neptune at Opposition 
Sep 06  07:03  FULL MOON 
Sep 10  05:30  Mercury 0.7°S of Regulus
Sep 10  21:44  Jupiter 2.9°N of Spica
Sep 12  10     Mercury at Greatest Elongation: 17.9°W
Sep 12  12:09  Aldebaran 0.4°S of Moon
Sep 13  06:25  LAST QUARTER MOON 
Sep 13  16:04  Moon at Perigee: 369856 km
Sep 15  12     Mercury at Perihelion 
Sep 16  14:50  Beehive 3.1°N of Moon
Sep 16  18     Mercury 0.1° of Mars
Sep 17  18:28  Moon at Ascending Node 
Sep 18  00:56  Venus 0.5°N of Moon: Occultation
Sep 18  04:32  Regulus 0.1°S of Moon
Sep 18  23:22  Mercury 0.0°N of Moon: Occultation
Sep 19  21:30  Venus 0.4°N of Regulus
Sep 20  05:30  NEW MOON 
Sep 22  07:51  Jupiter 3.7°S of Moon
Sep 22  20:02  Autumnal Equinox 
Sep 27  00:09  Saturn 3.5°S of Moon
Sep 27  06:49  Moon at Apogee: 404342 km
Sep 28  02:54  FIRST QUARTER MOON 

As the events above transpire, I will post photographs of some of them at Recent Images.

Astronomical events calendars for complete years and for eight time zones are available through the links below.

Time Zones Calendars of Astronomical Events
Greenwich Mean Time 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Atlantic Standard Time 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Eastern Standard Time 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Central Standard Time 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Mountain Standard Time 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Pacific Standard Time 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Alaska Standard Time 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Hawaii Standard Time 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022

For additional years, see Calendars of Astronomical Events.

The astronomical highlight of 2017 is the Great American Total Solar Eclipse on August 21. This is the first total eclipse visible from the continental USA in 38 years. For complete details on this highly anticipated event, see: 2017 Total Solar Eclipse (

For information on all solar and lunar eclipses this year, see: Eclipses During 2017.

The Calendars of Astronomical Events were all generated by a computer program I wrote (with THINK Pascal running on a Macintosh G4) using Astronomical Algorithms (Jean Meeus).

Fred Espenak

Eclipse Day Checklist

So the BIG DAY has finally come. Are you all ready for the 2017 Total Eclipse of the Sun? It’s important to be prepared to take in everything the eclipse has to offer. You’ll be outside for hours and there are a number of things you can do to make yourself comfortable.

The checklist below will help you plan the perfect eclipse experience! Do your homework and the only other thing you’ll need is perfect weather!

A series of nine images were combined into a time sequence of the total solar eclipse of 1999 August 11, from Lake Hazar, Turkey. The corona has been computer enhanced to show subtle details and prominences. Copyright 1999 by Fred Espenak.

A series of nine images were combined into a time sequence of the total solar eclipse of 1999 August 11, from Lake Hazar, Turkey. The corona has been computer enhanced to show subtle details and prominences. Copyright 1999 by Fred Espenak.

Eclipse Day Checklist

    Basic Checklist

  • Solar filters for your eyes (partial phases only; filters are removed during totality; and bring extra filters to share)
  • Straw hat, kitchen pasta colander, or cooking spoon with small holes to project pinhole images of partially eclipsed Sun on a white piece of cardboard (see: Safe Solar Eclipse Viewing)
  • Suitable clothing and large brimmed hat (you will be outside in the Sun for several hours)
  • Sunglasses (not for direct viewing of partial phases)
  • Comfortable folding chairs or picnic blanket to sit on
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Bug repellent
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Cooler filled with water and drinks
  • Snacks, sandwiches, etc.
  • Roll of toilet paper (for emergencies)
  • A list of your intended activities during the eclipse
  • Times of the eclipse contacts for your location (can be found using the EclipseWise 2017 Google Eclipse Map).
  • Digital watch or cell phone with accurate time (set on the day of eclipse)
  • A printed copy of Stages of a Total Solar Eclipse to help you keep track of everything to watch during the eclipse

    Equipment Checklist for Viewing and/or Photographing Eclipse
  • Binoculars and/or small telescope
  • Solar filters for binoculars and/or telescope
  • Camera equipment and tripod
  • Video camera and tripod
  • Audio recorder for your comments and impressions or to capture reactions of people or wildlife near you
  • Audio recorder with prerecorded messages timed to cue you about what to see next*
  • Extra batteries for all of the above
  • Pencil and paper to record impressions or to sketch (also to take down the names and addresses of fellow observers)
  • * there are some smart phone apps that do this (e.g., Solar Eclipse Timer or EclipseDroid)

You may also be interested in reading:
Best Ways to View the Solar Eclipse
Safe Solar Eclipse Viewing
Stages of a Total Solar Eclipse
Experiencing Totality
Mr. Eclipse’s “How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse”
Eclipse Photographer’s Checklist

Fred Espenak ©2017

Solar Corona

A composite image of the total solar eclipse of 2006 March 29 was shot in Jalu, Libya. It was produced from 26 individual exposures obtained with two separate telescopes and combined with computer software to reveal subtle details in the corona. Copyright 2006 by Fred Espenak.

Eclipse Photographer’s Checklist

Earlier this year I presented a live webinar on Solar Eclipse Imaging. One of the handouts I prepared was a checklist to help photographers get ready for the Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017. It listed many of the things you should do days or even weeks before the eclipse. That way, you’ll avoid many potential problems on the big day itself.

I’m reproducing it here to share with a bigger audience.

Photography Preparation Checklist (weeks before eclipse)

    Set up all your equipment for testing
  • Make checklist of all necessary equipment
    (camera, lens, solar filter, tripod, batteries, memory cards, cables, adapters, chargers, etc.)
  • Include any tools you will need
  • For video camera or computer, how long do batteries last?
  • If planning bursts with a DSLR, how may shots before buffer is full?

    For maximum stability, set tripod as low as practical
  • Do not extend center column
  • Hang weight (water bottle, bag of rocks, etc.) from center of tripod or tape to legs

    Practice aiming, framing and tracking the Sun with your camera
  • If using equatorial mount, learn how to polar align in daytime
    (use compass for NORTH & angle finder for LATITUDE)
  • If NOT using equatorial mount, practice tracking Sun
    (how long does it take the Sun to drift out of your field of view?)
  • Note: Sun moves across the sky at the rate of 1 diameter every 2 minutes

    Make sure you can remove the solar filter quickly without moving Sun out of field
  • Solar filter must be secure enough that wind won’t blow it off
  • Practice removing filter smoothly

    Prepare brief Eclipse Day notes
  • Use clipboard or index cards
  • List eclipse contact times for quick reference
  • Eclipse Day checklist
  • Any other notes you need at your fingertips

    Carefully pack up all your equipment
  • Set up all your equipment one last time
  • How long does it take to set up?
  • Consult checklist to make sure you have everything
  • Use poly tarp to lay out equipment before packing for eclipse
  • Don’t remove anything once you’ve packed

For more on the basics see Mr. Eclipse’s “How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse” and the Nikon Guide to Eclipse Photography. And check out Alan Dyer’s great ebook “How to Photograph the Solar Eclipse”.

Fred Espenak

As totality ends, the Sun begins to emerge from behind the Moon producing the dazzling diamond ring effect. Copyright 2005 by Fred Espenak.