Here is a list of upcoming Astronomy events for October. The recent clear warm nights at the end of September have given us the chance to get a look at a few things, but the sky is so big! How do you choose!? Well, this latest guide might just have a few suggestions of interest.
Saturday 1st October – In the early hours of 1st and 2nd October the planet Mars can be found right in front of Praesepe (the Beehive Cluster, Messier 44), in the constellation Cancer. Should be great to see with binoculars or a small telescope!
You can see what this actually looked like in our photographs here (and compare it to the guide image below!), it was one of many targets on what turned out to be a great night!
Mars in the Beehive Cluster, to the east at 02:30 UTC/GMT 1st October (click to enlarge) - Credit: Stellarium/Sky-Watching
Tuesday 4th October - First quarter Moon
Saturday 8th October – The annual Draconid meteor shower (also known as the Giacobinids) should reach its peak this evening (the height of activity expected between 16:00 and 22:00 UTC/GMT), with calculations suggesting we could be in for an outstanding display. The ZHR (Zenithal Hourly Rate) could range from a few tens of meteors per hour to several hundred
The image below can help guide your eyes, but if it’s as busy as forecasts are suggesting you should see them all over the sky, despite a bright Moon to the south. It might wash out some of the fainter meteors but you should still see the brighter flashes. Draconid meteors are also known to be very slow moving
The sky at 20:00 UTC/GMT 8th October 2011, to spot Draconids look to the North West (click to enlarge) - Credit: Stellarium/Sky-Watching
Tuesday 11th/Wednesday 12th October – Full Moon and Moon at Apogee (406,435 km), the farthest it gets away from the Earth during it’s orbit. This full Moon is sometimes known as the Hunter’s Moon or Blood Moon (occurs at 02:05 GMT)
Thursday 13th October – The planet Saturn is in superior conjuction on the far side of the Sun, so will be unobservable throughout October
Monday 17th October - Tonight should see the start of the annual Orionids meteor shower (17th-25th). The Orionids are considered a universal sky-watching opportunity as the radiant point is close to the celestial equator, meaning both hemispheres (northern and southern) will see some of the display not lost in the Moon’s glare. The peak should be on 21st October with a ZHR of around 20-25 per hour
Orionid meteor radiant at 00:00 21st October (click to enlarge) - Credit: Stellarium/Sky-Watching
Thursday 20th October – Last quarter Moon. It won’t rise until after midnight so a good chance earlier on to maybe catch a few meteors
Wednesday 26th October – New Moon and Moon at Perigee (357,050 km), the closest point of its orbit around the Earth.
Jupiter and moons (left to right: Callisto, Europa, Io and Ganymede) from 28th September 2011 (Click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn
Saturday 29th October - Jupiter is at opposition in the constellation Aries, meaning it is in the opposite side of the sky to the Sun, and will appear at it’s brightest
Sunday 30th October - British Summertime ends at 02:00 BST, when the clocks go back 1 hour to 01:00 GMT (but at least I get an extra hour in bed!)
Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!
We recently added the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right (where this guide will appear), so next time you visit you can find it again easily!
Guide images created with Stellarium
Astronomy Events – September 2011
Astronomy Events – August 2011
Astronomy Events – July 2011