Astronomy Events – October 2015

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by Adam Welbourn

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days you can’t have helped but notice the sudden spike in interest astronomy has enjoyed. The Super Blood Eclipse Moon at the end of September had more people outdoors at unsociable hours than a midnight launch of a new iPhone*.

And so many photographers popped up filling the news with their photos, the enthusiasm and wonder has been palpable!

But how to keep that going?  Well we can’t offer you the wonder of a total lunar eclipse, but we can help with some other observable events and notable happenings for the coming month. If you’re new to astronomy you’re very welcome here, and we hope you find something in our October guide to keep you outside when most sane people are in bed 🙂

Keep watching those skies…

Sunday 4th October  – This evening our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

Friday 9th October – If you’re up for getting up before sunrise this morning there’s a great opportunity for some solar system spanning photography! The thin crescent Moon will appear in the sky with Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Regulus, a blue-white star which is part of the constellation Leo

Shown at 03:30 UTC (04:30 BST) the waning crescent Moon will have some planetary near neighbours this morning (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Shown at 03:30 UTC (04:30 BST) the waning crescent Moon will have some planetary near neighbours this morning (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

If the weather forecasts are favourable I may just take a drive out somewhere dark to get some photos!

Sunday 11th October – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 406,390 km (252,519 miles), the furthest point its orbit will take it away from the Earth this month

Monday 12th October Uranus is at opposition this evening, and can be located in the constellation Pisces (if your skies are dark enough)

Tuesday 13th October – Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae

M42 the Orion Nebula is a great sight through binoculars or a small telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn
M42 the Orion Nebula is a great sight through binoculars or a small telescope, and best viewed without the Moon around! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Friday 16th October – To help you identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in October

Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th October, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th October, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in October (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium
Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in October (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Tuesday 20th October – This evening the Moon will be seen at First Quarter phase

Wednesday 21st October – Tonight is the peak of the annual Orionid Meteor Shower, and while meteors will be visible after nightfall the best viewing conditions are in the early hours of the 22nd October, after the Moon has set and during peak activity!

This Perseid meteor is one of the better ones we've caught with a camera, but we'll always strive for more! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn
This Perseid meteor is one of the better ones we’ve caught with a camera, but we’ll always strive for more so will be out again for the Orionids (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The radiant of the shower (the point all the meteors appear to originate from) is just up and to the left of Betelgeuse in Orion, though the meteors can appear all over the sky. Happy hunting!

Sunday 25th October – British Summer Time ends in the UK at 02:00 BST today (winding back an hour to 01:00 UTC).  So that’s an extra hour in bed to look forward to (or an extra hour observing!)

Monday 26th October – Today the Moon is at Perigee at a distance of 358,465 km (223,740 miles) from the Earth, the closest it will come on it’s current orbit. That’s nearly 2000 miles further out than last month’s Supermoon but it demonstrates how much the orbit of the Moon can vary

Tuesday 27th October – Tonight’s Full Moon is sometimes known as the Hunter’s Moon, Blackberry Moon or Harvest Moon

As usual, if you take any photos throughout October you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Saturn
Venus
Neptune
Mars
Uranus
Jupiter
Mercury

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

Archive:
Astronomy Events – September 2015
Astronomy Events – August 2015
Astronomy Events – July 2015

*other smartphones are available

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