Let’s compare the two brightest stars currently shining in Minnesota’s evening sky. At about 9 pm in early September or 8 pm in late September, look for the bright star Vega nearly overhead. Vega is the third brightest star visible from Minnesota gleaming with a blue-white color. Its surface temperature is about 17,000 °F (7,000 degrees hotter than our star) and you could fit about 2.5 of our suns side-by-side across Vega.
In contrast, look for the second brightest star, Arcturus, above the western horizon. Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation of Boötes, the fourth-brightest in the night sky, and the brightest in the northern celestial hemisphere. Its ruddy color indicates it is cooler than Vega and it sports a surface temperature of just 8000 °F (cooler than our star) but its diameter is about 25 times that of the sun! Our star will look like this in a few billion years.
Compare other stars with this video from EarthSky.org and the European Southern Observatory.
Keep watching the planets too. As noted below, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars continue their show during most of the month.
|1||Bright star Spica 1 degree above right of very bright Venus||8-8:30 pm, Low WSW|
|1||Venus low WSW, Jupiter SW, Saturn S, Mars E||8:30 pm|
|5||Mercury 1 ½ degrees above bright star Regulus||6:15 am, Low E|
|6||Mercury just left of Regulus||6:15 am, Low E
|12||Bright Venus 8 degrees below thin crescent Moon||7:45 pm, WSW|
|13||Jupiter below left of Moon||8-9 pm, WSW|
|16||Saturn 8 degrees left of Moon||9 pm, SSW|
|17||Saturn below right of Moon||9 pm, SSW|
|19||Mars below left of Moon||8 pm to midnight|
|22||Autumn begins in Northern Hemisphere|
|30||Bright star Aldebaran 1 degree from Moon||11:30 pm, E|
When viewing planets, stars or constellations in the night sky, it is helpful to use a sky map.
Minnesota Starwatch is another great resource for tracking the night sky.