Sky Report, September-October 2020
Sky Report by Ted Gruber
Jupiter (magnitude -2.5) is the first object other than the moon that becomes visible in the southeast twilight. Saturn (0.4) becomes visible east of Jupiter and slightly lower to the horizon as the sky darkens. Jupiter now sets about 1:00am, with Saturn following about 45 minutes later. By mid-October, Jupiter sets just before 11:00pm and Saturn about 30 minutes later. The moon passes less than 2° south of Jupiter the evening of September 24 and about 2° south of Saturn the following night.
Mars (-2.2) now rises in the east about 9:00pm, and just over two hours earlier by mid-October, and remains visible until fading into the morning light. On the evening of October 2, the moon passes 0.7° south of Mars.
Mars reaches opposition on October 13. That evening the red planet shines at magnitude -2.6, just slightly brighter than Jupiter. While Mars won’t be as close to Earth as it was for its 2018 opposition, it will be higher in the sky.
Mercury (-0.1) is visible about 30 minutes after sunset low in the western sky from late September through early October. Although Mercury reaches its greatest eastern elongation on October 1, it lies south of the ecliptic and only rises about 3° above the horizon.
Venus (-4.1) currently rises in the east-northeast about 3:00am, and about an hour later by mid-October. Venus appears about 0.1° south of the magnitude 1.36 star Regulus in the early morning hours of October 2.
Orionids Meteor Shower
The Orionids meteor shower is active from October 2 to November 7, peaking in the early morning hours of October 21 with a predicted rate of 20 meteors per hour. The moon will not be a factor this year at the peak or for about 10 days before. The meteors are from the debris trail left by Halley’s Comet.
New (9/17), first (9/23), full (10/1), last (10/9), new (10/16), first (10/23), full (10/31)
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