October 2018

Apologies for the audio quality on this episode.

 

Get your last look at Jupiter while Saturn is staying up shorter and shorter amounts of time, and take most of the night to appreciate Mars. October also brings us the annual Orionid Meteor Shower and this year Halloween will have moonless skies.

 

Naked-eye PLANETS...

  • Around Sunset – Jupiter (SW), Saturn (SSW), Mars (ESE)
  • Throughout the night – Mars (SE--SW)
  • Morning – None

 

Mercury

  • Not visible.

Venus

  • Passes in front of the Sun (inferior conjunction), not visible.

Mars

  • Mars is already in the SSE around sunset, right in the middle of Capricorn, traveling toward the SW and setting around 1am.

Jupiter

  • Technically up in the SW around sunset, but the dusk will make it a bit difficult to see, as it’s only 10˚ above the horizon. The earlier in the month you look, the better. If you want good views, you’ll have to wait a couple of months and get up early

Saturn

  • Already up around sunset. Look about 20˚ above the SSW horizon in evening above Sagittarius. Sets around 10:30pm.

 

EVENTS...

Last Quarter Moon – 2nd (Visible from midnight into the morning)

New Moon – 8th (darkest skies)

11th Close EncounterMoon, Jupiter – Get out your binoculars and go to a spot with a very clear view of the SW horizon. Try finding the very thin crescent Moon after 6:30pm, but before 7:45pm and you’ll also find Jupiter down and to the left about 3˚

14th Close EncounterMoon, Saturn – Find the Moon and you’ll see Saturn off to the left only 2˚, both just above the teapot of Sagittarius.

First Quarter Moon – 16th (Visible until midnight)

17th & 18th Close EncounterMoon, Mars – Looking for Mars? Well, it’s the slightly red and fairly bright red spot in the sky.  Need a reference point? Find the Moon! On the 17th, Mars will be about 6˚ to the left of the Moon. Overnight, the Moon will move to the opposite side of Mars (from our perspective) and they will again be separated by only 6˚.

20th – 22ndOrionid Meteor Shower – I usually don’t say much about this one, since it usually produces only 10-15 meteors per hour. But that doesn’t mean you should give up hope. Your best bet is likely to look toward the north, away from the Moon, and especially after 4:30am when the Moon sets and stops polluting the skies with light.

Full Moon – 24th (Visible all night)

Halloween: Last Quarter Moon – 31st (Visible from midnight into the morning) – Get your telescope out for trick-or-treating! It’ll be a moonless night during the event.

 

CONSTELLATIONS...

(see sky map link at the bottom for a Star Map for this month)   

After Dinner:

The Summer Triangle: Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Delphinus - Look straight up before 8pm and you’ll be able to see Lyra (the Harp), Cygnus (the Swan), Aquila (the Eagle), (and Delphinus the Dolphin.)  These three constellations have the three brightest stars of the summer constellations (Vega, Deneb, Altair – respectively.)  Those bright stars create the summer triangle.  Off to the east of this is the small but beautiful constellation of Delphinus. If you’re under dark skies (away from city lights) you may just catch a glimpse of the Milky Way passing through Cygnus and Aquila. 

Before Bed:

Fall Constellations: Pegasus & Andromeda - Look pretty much straight up before 10pm and you’ll be able to see the Great Square of Pegasus, with Andromeda curving off of one corner. If your skies are decently dark, you might catch the faint fuzz that is the Andromeda Galaxy.

Before Work:

Orion – Look south to find the vertical bow-tie that is Orion the Hunter.

Use a sky map from www.skymaps.com to help you out.

 

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