| Observatory |
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...
The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal astro-experiences to look forward to.
Thurs. Oct. 1 – The Moon will be about the width of its diameter north of bright Aldebaran around midnight tonight as our satellite crosses the bright Hyades open star cluster. For those willing to wait up for it, or get out of bed before dawn, the Moon will actually catch up to and occult Aldebaran from around 6am to just after 7am.
Sun. Oct. 4 – This is Last Quarter Moon night heralding the approaching dark moon period for imaging, sketching and deep sky observing.
Thurs. Oct. 8 - The planets are gathering in the morning sky and early this morning they will be joined by a crescent Moon. The fingernail pairing will appear about the width of two middle fingers of Venus while Mars, Jupiter and Mercury will look on from below.
Mon. Oct. 11 - Before dawn this morning the thin crescent Moon will pass just the width of a middle finger above the innermost planet Mercury.
Tues. Oct. 12 – This is New Moon night with our bright companion hiding out in the Sun’s glare, leaving a completely dark sky for deep sky activities including an excellent chance to observe the Zodiacal light (see below).
Wed. Oct. 14 - Another reminder that the Zodiacal Light can be seen at its fall best at this time of year. Created by the Sun illuminating dust particles in the equatorial plane of the solar system, the faint triangle of light extends up into the pre-dawn eastern sky.
Thurs. Oct. 15 – Mercury has reached its greatest western elongation above the early morning eastern horizon, offering early risers a chance to glimpse light rebounding from its blistering hot surface.
Fri. Oct. 16 – The thin fingernail pairing Moon is rising in the evening sky and tonight it will pass the width of two fingers from the ringed planet Saturn.
Sat. Oct. 17 – In the early morning sky Mars will pass less than the width of the Moon away from Jupiter.
Tues. Oct. 20 – This is First Quarter Moon night as our natural satellite lights up the night with its half diameter as a warm-up for its full phase near Halloween.
Wed. Oct. 21 - The prominent Orionid meteor shower will peak tonight. The early morning hours should provide the best view with the radiant in Orion well placed in the southern sky.
Fri. Oct. 23 - Another fascinating planetary tableau will take place in the eastern sky before dawn this morning. Venus, Mars and Jupiter form a triangle above a thin crescent Moon. In fact the thin slice of Moon will be about the width of a middle finger from brilliant Venus.
Sun. Oct. 25 – There will be an interesting conjunction in the pre dawn sky early this morning as brilliant Venus will pass about two moon widths south of giant Jupiter. This will take place just one hour after Venus reaches its greatest western elongation above the pre dawn horizon.
Tues. Oct. 27 – Though it will happen four days before Halloween, there will be a spectacular Full Moon rising over the eastern horizon this evening, in fact this will be the Hunter’s Moon. Our companion is just a day past its closest approach to the Earth so it will appear larger than average, making it easier for black cats to arrange silhouettes in front of it.
Wed. Oct. 28 – A three planet event will take place in the pre-dawn sky this morning. Jupiter, Mars and Venus will group in a circle less than the width of your three middle fingers, fitting nicely into the field of a pair of binoculars. Lower in the morning sky, fleet Mercury pass less than three finger widths north of the bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo.
Thurs. Oct. 29 – The just past full Moon will jog about its width above the bright star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus in the night sky tonight.