Sky Report by Ted Gruber
Saturn (magnitude 0.4) becomes visible in the southeast sky as darkness falls and dims slightly to magnitude 0.6 over the next month.
Jupiter (magnitude -2.9) now rises in the east just before 7:30pm. By mid-October the bright planet rises before sunset, becoming visible in the eastern twilight.
Mars (magnitude -0.4) currently rises in the east-northeast just before 10:30pm. The red planet rises about an hour earlier and brightens to magnitude -0.9 by mid-October.
The moon passes about 4° south of Saturn the night of October 5-6 and about 2° south of Jupiter three nights later. On the night of October 14-15, the moon passes less than 4° north of Mars.
The moon occults Uranus (magnitude 5.7) the night of October 11-12. From our area, Uranus disappears behind the illuminated side of the moon at 10:03pm and reappears from the unilluminated side at 11:05pm. The moon is 94% illuminated that night.
Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars rise in the evening but remain visible into the early morning hours. Saturn currently sets in the west-southwest about 3:30am, with Jupiter setting in the west about 30 minutes before sunrise. By mid-October, Saturn sets just before 2:00am and Jupiter just past 5:30am. Mars remains visible until fading into the morning sunlight.
Venus (magnitude -3.9) currently rises in the east about 45 minutes before sunrise, and about 30 minutes before sunrise by early October.
Mercury returns to the morning sky in early October. On October 1, Mercury rises in the east a little more than an hour before sunrise but shines at a rather faint magnitude 1.2. Over the next two weeks, Mercury rises about the same time, but sunrise is earlier. The innermost planet brightens each morning, reaching magnitude -0.9 on October 15.
Orionids Meteor Shower
The Orionids meteor shower is active from September 26 to November 22, peaking the night of October 20-21, typically producing 10-20 meteors per hour at the peak. The moon is favorable at the peak this year, rising just after 3:00am and about 17% illuminated the morning of October 21. The shower is called the Orionids because the meteors appear to emanate from a point in the constellation Orion, but they can be seen across the night sky. The Orionids are one of two annual showers resulting from the Earth passing through the debris trail left by Halley’s comet (the Eta Aquriids in May are the other).
New (9/25), first (10/3), full (10/9), last (10/17), new (10/25)
Our day and night are of equal length today, as we find our selves between the longest and shortest days of the year.
The solstices and the equinoxes have been vital astronomical events for millennia, in cultures around the world.
Here in Longview, the fall equinox marks the start to planning our Solstice Lantern Walk in December. We're getting ready for our fourth one already!
Check out the event. Or volunteer. Or sponsor a planet.
Bring some light and cheer to the longest night of the year!
Friends of Galileo
We are astronomy enthusiasts who love to learn and to share our wonder at the amazing sights right overhead.