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The sky is not a painting, it's a movie. Stars pulse, flare, some explode as supernova, asteroids whiz by the earth, new comets appear in the sky, Aurora sets the northern skies ablaze and meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere.
The Full Moon for October
The Full Hunter’s Moon or Full Harvest Moon. This full Moon is often referred to as the Full Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, or Sanguine Moon. Native Americans named this bright moon as leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains.
October Lunar Highlights
The morning of October 18th, a waning crescent Moon passes 7° degrees to lower right of Jupiter, forming a triangle with the star Regulus. In the evening sky October 25th, a waxing crescent passes about 3° degrees upper left of Saturn. October 28th, the crescent Moon passes almost 8° degrees above Mars.
The Moon on the night of October 11th passes through The Hyades that form the nearest open cluster to us . The cluster is a distance of only about 150 light years from Earth. About 11° degrees above the Moon is M-45 also known as The The Pleiades. The Pleiades also carry the name "Seven Sisters"; according to Greek mythology, seven daughters and their parents. The red star Aldebaran is imagined as the eye of Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran a giant reddish star is about 30 - 40 times the mass of our own Sun, and around 68 light years distant. See image below.
The Planets Visibility for October
Evening sky W
Mercury is lost in the Sun's glare.
Morning sky E
Venus is lost in the Sun's glare. Venus will next reappear in the December evening sky.
Evening sky SW
Mars has a close encounter with comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) on the 19th of October when the comet passes within 87,000 miles of the red planet. A large telescope of at least a 10 inch diameter reflector or 6-8 inch diameter refractor will most likely be required to see the comet as it is very faint. NASA plans to use the imagers in orbit and maybe the Mars rover to photograph this close call to Mars. Mars and the comet from Earth will appear only 00°11'14" Angular separation apart. For more information see: Spaceweather also CIOC
Mars sets October 11th at 9:32 p.m. EDT. To find Mars look for a reddish object low in the southwest sky. It is located in the constellation Ophiuchus and moves into the constellation Sagittarius on October 21st. Mars is at +0.8 magnitude and a diameter of 00'.06". On October 28th the Moon is an Angular separation from Mars of: 07°52'29". Look for the Teapot in Sagittarius to the left of Mars and Moon, see image below.
To see which part of the surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page.
Morning sky E
Jupiter is at -2.0 magnitude and a diameter of 00'.35" located in the constellation Cancer the Crab moving into the constellation Leo the Lion on October 15th. Jupiter rises around 1:57 a.m. EDT. Jupiter is easily visible in the morning sky. The morning of October 18th, a waning crescent Moon passes 7° degrees to lower right of Jupiter, forming a triangle with the star Regulus. See below image.
Evening SW Sky
Saturn October 11th sets at 8:10 p.m. and is at magnitude +0.6 and diameter 00'.15". On October 25th look right after sunset for Saturn and a thin crescent three day old Moon only 3° degrees apart. Saturn on the 25th will be low in the southwest and sets at 7:35 p.m. See image below. Saturn is located in the constellation Libra.
Through a small telescope Saturn will reveal the famous rings of the planet. Rings currently are 22.7 tilt. See: Saturn's moons locations
Evening Sky E Morning SW
Uranus at midmonth is at 5.7 magnitude and diameter 00'.04" is up after sunset and sets 6:44 a.m. located in the constellation Pisces. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a green-gray disk. See finder charts: Sky & Telescope
Evening Sky SE
Neptune midmonth is at 7.8 magnitude and diameter 00'.02" is up in the east after sunset and at sets 3:28 a.m.. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a blue green disk. Neptune is located in the constellation Aquarius. See finder charts: Sky & Telescope
Midmonth asteroid 4Vesta is at magnitude 7.8 located in Scorpius and Asteroid 1Ceres at magnitude 9.0 in Libra and close to Saturn. See 2014 pdf finder charts: Chart
Pluto at midmonth is visible in the south after sunset amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.1 and diameter 00'.00" A large telescope is needed to see this distant object.
Comets Brighter than 8 Magnitude
C/2012 K1 (PANSTARRS) 7.0 Magnitude
Look for PANSTARRS to brighten in the predawn SE skies this October. Now located in Puppis early morning sky rising midmonth at 2:57 a.m on October 18th. The comet should now be visible with binoculars or small telescope as a very faint and fuzzy object difficult to see at 7.0 magnitude on the 18th. The comet on the 18th will be an Angular separation: 04°02'23.931" from the 2.45 magnitude star Aludra in Canis Major the "Larger Dog" constellation. Sirius the brightest star is about 19° degrees angular separation from the comet. See image below. Note# Comet is not as bright as depicted in image below.
For more on current Comets and locations see: Seiichi Yoshida web site here.
The Orionid meteor shower peaks on the morning of October 21-22, 2014 with a predicted rate of around 25 meteors per hour. The meteors can be observed several days before and after the peak of the 21-22 but with fewer meteors. The Orionids are named this because they seem to appear from a point in the sky called the radiant, which for the Orionids is in the constellation Orion, however they can be seen over a large area of the sky radiating from this point. The Orionids meteor shower is a result of Earth passing through the dust of the debris released by Halley's Comet. The waning crescent Moon this year will not interfere with seeing the meteors. The best time to observe the meteors is early morning hours (Overhead at 5:30 a.m.) to before dawn when the the radiant is highest in the sky and meteors are traveling at a speed of around 140,000 miles per hour and meteors are brightest and swiftest as they hit earth more directly.
Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.
Also see: Spaceflight NASA
Real time solar wind dials are linked live to the ACE Spacecraft.
If the dial on the left (Magnetic Field) has dipped below zero, the speed is high and the dial dynamic pressure is in the yellow/red, be alert for Aurora. Anytime the gauges are in the Red and the dial on the left, the Magnetic Field BZ has dipped to the yellow-red... Aurora will be occurring in our area. See link to solar wind gauge here: REAL TIME SOLAR WIND
See explanation of solar wind dials below by clicking on photo of dials
Solar Wind Dials