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Skywatching at a Glance – October 2016

Skywatching at a Glance – October 2016

The full Moon (which happens on the 16th of October) will occult several stars in the Hyades star cluster on the 18th/19th of the month as it approaches the constellation Taurus. Note that the Moon will be at apogee on October 4th (geocentric distance = 406 096 km), and again on the 30th of the month (geocentric distance = 406 662 km), while it will be at perigee (geocentric distance = 357 861 km) on the 17th. Read more…

 

Apogee Moon, Perigee Moon. Image credit: António Cidadão

Apogee Moon, Perigee Moon Image credit: António Cidadão

Moon Phases for October 2016

New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Last Quarter
October 1 & 30 October 9 October 16 October 22

Planet Watch in October 2016

Mercury

Mercury can be viewed in the predawn sky until the 11th of October, after which date it approaches the Sun to reach a position of superior conjunction on the 27th of the month. Mercury and Jupiter will also form a pretty duo during the first days of October. Read more…

Venus

October is not a good month to view Venus, since it spends the month well within ten degrees of the southwestern horizon. Read more…

Mars

Mars is now in the constellation Sagittarius, and continues its movement towards the constellation Capricornus. Look for Mars as it approaches and nearly clips the star Kaus Borealis, the filial on the Teapot asterism on the 7th of the month. Read more…

Jupiter

Jupiter is once again a conspicuous predawn object as it starts its 2016/2017 apparition. Look for Jupiter in the east south east just below the earth-lit Moon on the 28th of the month. Read more…

Saturn

Saturn also spends much of October well within ten degrees of the southwestern horizon, which could make it difficult to spot in less than ideal seeing conditions. Read more…

Uranus

Uranus comes into opposition with Earth on the 15th of the month, when it will be 2 838 million km away, in the constellation Pisces. Read more…

Meteor Showers in October 2016

October sees two meteor showers, the first being the Orionids that peak between the 21st and 24th of the month, and the second being the Draconids that peak earlier, on the night of the 7th/8th of the month. Read more…

Deep Sky Objects to look for in October 2016

The constellation Aquarius is particularly well placed for UK observers during October, reaching its highest elevation at this time of the year. This makes it possible to view two Messier objects in the constellation, M2 and M72 (both star clusters), with nothing more than a pair of binoculars. Read more…

M2

Globular Cluster M2. Image credit: D. Williams, N. A. Sharp, AURA, NOAO, NSF

Globular Cluster M2. Image credit: D. Williams, N. A. Sharp, AURA, NOAO, NSF

M2 can be seen roughly five degrees to the northward of the star Beta Aquarii, at coordinates RA 21h 33m 27.02s, and DEC –00° 49′ 23.7″

M72

M72: A Globular Cluster of Stars. Image credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HPOW

M72: A Globular Cluster of Stars. Image credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HPOW

While M72 can be viewed with binoculars, a small telescope will reveal the vast extent of this cluster that is located at coordinates RA 20h 53m 27.70s, and DEC -12° 32′ 14.3″ toward the constellation Aquarius.