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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on exciting 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. They are complemented by pictures from Jim Failes' extensive personal photo collection.

Wed. Oct. 1 - This is First Quarter Moon night which will see our half lit companion placed high in the fall evening sky. Below is a picture of a First Quarter Moon taken by Jim Failes.

Sun. Oct. 5 - For those who have never seen Neptune, the waxing Moon will provide a fingerpost tonight, appearing about the width of your three middle fingers north of the tiny bluish planet. With a telescope, look for the 7.8 magnitude prize.

Tues. Oct. 7 - Uranus is at opposition tonight, reaching its closest point to Earth. A helpful finder chart appears on Page 51 of the September issue of Sky & Telescope magazine.

Wed. Oct. 8 - Early this morning there will be the opportunity to enjoy the year's second total eclipse of the Moon. After traversing the penumbra, the Moon will begin totality in the umbra at 3.25am PDT. Totality will last until 4.24am. The activity will take place low in the western sky and an added feature for observers will be watching the eclipsed Moon pass less than its width from the ice giant planet Uranus. Below is a picture of a total eclipse of the Moon being observed from a suburban yard which was taken by Jim Failes. The eclipsed Moon is in to the left in the picture.

Sun. Oct. 12 - The just past full Moon will pass its width above the bright star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus which is moving higher into the pre-winter night sky.

Wed. Oct. 15 - This is Last Quarter Moon night with the reverse side of the First Quarter being lit and greeting us high in the morning sky. Below is a picture of the Third Quarter Moon which was taken by Jim Failes.

Fri. Oct. 17 - Tonight the waning Moon will pass the width of your three middle fingers south of bright Jupiter in the early morning sky. Below is a picture of Jupiter near a waning cresent Moon which was taken by Jim Failes. Jupiter is to the upper left.

Sun. Oct. 19 - Tonight would be a good time to be on Mars. Comet Siding Spring will make a close 130,000 km. pass of the planet where it will appear as a very bright -9 magnitude object in the sky. While we can't be there to view it up close, Mars spacecraft and rovers will, and it will be interesting to view their results. In fact the planet and the comet will be visible from Earth in a telescope. The planet will shine at magnitude .9 and the comet will be a faint but visible 8th mag. object appearing very close to the planet.

Mon. Oct. 20 - 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.

Tues. Oct. 21 - The prominent Orionid meteor shower will peak tonight. Unlike last year, the Moon will not be around to wash out the fainter streaks, so this should help the show. The early morning hours should provide the best view with the radiant in Orion well placed in the southern sky.

Thurs. Oct. 23 - A rare treat is in store this afternoon when the Moon will come partway between us and the Sun to create a partial Solar eclipse. More than 60% of the Sun's disk will be covered at mid eclipse at 2.57pm. The show will begin with the first bite out of the Sun occurring at 1.32pm, and the Moon will exit the Sun's disk at 4.16pm. Let's hope for clear skies! For a sample of what we will see, below is a picture of a partially eclipsed Sun seen through welder's glass which was taken by Jim Failes.

Tues. Oct. 28 - The waxing Moon will visit Mars low in the southwest sky after sunset. The red planet will be seen about the width of four fingers to the south of the thin crescent.

Thurs. Oct. 30 - This is First Quarter Moon night when the half slice of orange will look down on late fall Okanagan scenes.