With the darker evenings now truly upon us it’s a great time to be out observing (before it gets really cold!). October has historically been our best month for getting our own images too, so we are vowing to get our ‘scopes out again in October and we’ll post some of our results!
But is there anything of interest coming up in October we can look forward to? As ever we’ve listed below some interesting heavenly happenings over the coming month, so keep watching the skies!
Our guide below should help you locate it should you want to try and find it, as under dark skies you’ll spot it with a good pair of binoculars
Saturday 5th October – The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight
Monday 7th October – The annual Draconid meteor shower peaks this evening, and the thin waxing Moon shouldn’t interfere
Best viewed after nightfall, look to the northwest and hope the clouds stay away! You should also get some more after dark on the 8th October too
Wednesday 9th October – Mercury is at Greatest Eastern Elongation today, so this elusive planet should be visible low down in the southwest just after sunset
Thursday 10th October – The Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 369,810 km (229,789 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth
Friday 11th October – This evening the Moon is seen at First Quarter phase
Tuesday 15th October – Red Planet Mars pays a visit to bright star Regulus in the constellation Leo this morning. And if you imagine a line from Regulus through Mars and out the other side the same distance again, you should come across Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON)
A great opportunity to find it with a telescope, but even with binoculars you should still be able to make it out if your skies are dark enough
Friday 18th October – The Full Moon in the sky this evening is also sometimes known as the Blood Moon, Hunter’s Moon or Blackberry Moon
It will also be experiencing a penumbral eclipse which occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s penumbra, which causes a subtle darkening of the Moon’s surface
It will be visible from the Americas (for the end), Europe, Africa, and most of Asia (the beginning of the eclipse will be visible in east Asia). The western part of the Philippines (including western Luzon and Palawan) can see the penumbral eclipse at moonset
We caught a faint darkening on the Moon’s top edge in some photos during the penumbral eclipse in April, so hopefully this one will make for some nice photos too!
Monday 21st October – The annual Orionid Meteor Shower peaks in the early hours this morning, but the bright light from the waning gibbous Moon will wash out most of the faint ones. The best times to view are from midnight until dawn on 20th, 21st and 22nd October, see below for a radiant guide (the direction the meteors will appear to emanate from)
Friday 25th October – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 404,560 km (251,382 miles), the farthest point out in its orbit around the Earth
Sunday 27th October – British Summer Time ends in the UK, and the clocks go back 1 hour to GMT/UTC at 02:00 BST
Planets visible this month:
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!
To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! 🙂
Guide images created with Stellarium