On September 30 and into the first couple of evenings of October, the young moon is in the west after sunset. You’ll find it edging closer each evening to the bright red star Antares – Heart of the Scorpion in the constellation Scorpius – and the even-brighter planet Jupiter. For your specific view, visit Stellarium Online.
As the days pass, the moon will shift closer to Jupiter. They’ll be closest around October 3.
Now let’s look at the Southern Hemisphere view:
Generally speaking, at this time of year, it’s easier to see the young moon from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere than from the Northern Hemisphere. That’s because the ecliptic – the yearly path of the sun, or approximate monthly path of the moon across our sky – makes a steep angle with the sunset horizon in spring, but a narrow angle in autumn. On the other hand, this particular young moon swings a maximum 5 degrees (10 moon-diameters) north of the ecliptic (5 degrees in ecliptic latitude). That erases some part of the Northern Hemisphere’s disadvantage. This time around, the Northern Hemisphere finds itself in a better position than it usually does for spotting an early autumn young moon.
As you can see from the chart directly above, there are also two planets in the west after sunset now. We don’t show them on our Northern Hemisphere chart because they’re so tough to see – as yet – from this hemisphere. But Southern Hemisphere viewers should be able to spot both Venus and Mercury – exceedingly low in the sky, very shortly after sunset – in late September and early October. Both will remain in the evening sky throughout October (and Venus long after that). This is Mercury’s best evening apparition for 2019 for Southern Hemisphere viewers. Check out the glorious shot of the pair taken September 27 from Zimbabwe, by Peter Lowenstein:
Bottom line: Wherever you may live, the young moon is hard to catch on September 29, 2019, but easier on September 30, and on October 1 and 2.
Bruce McClure has served as lead writer for EarthSky's popular Tonight pages since 2004. He's a sundial aficionado, whose love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and sailing in the North Atlantic, where he earned his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. He also writes and hosts public astronomy programs and planetarium programs in and around his home in upstate New York.