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The October Night Sky

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.

 Astronomy Picture of the Day

See below Hubble site Tonight's Sky, highlights of this months night sky movie with narration below. Click on photo below.

The Full Moon for October

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. Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons. The 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. Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, the Hunter’s Moon is generally accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes. Courtesy: Farmers Almanac.

Lunar Phase

First Quarter Moon October 9 12:33 am EDT
Full Moon October 16 12:23 am EDT
Last Quarter Moon October 22 3:14 pm EDT
New Moon October 30 1:38 pm EDT

October Visible Lunar Highlights

October 8-Mars 7° S. of Moon, October 13-Neptune 1°.2 S. of Moon, October 15-Uranus 3° N. of Moon, October 19- Aldebaran 0°.3 S. of Moon, October 28- Jupiter 1°.4 S. of Moon.

The Planets Visibility for October


Hidden in Glare of Sun

Mercury very low in the early morning sky around 6:45 am on October 11 makes a close approach to Jupiter  they are less than a degree apart. Mercury after the 11th quickly becomes lost in the suns glare.


Evening sky SW

Venus midmonth is at -3.9 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'13" and phase of 81.94%. Venus sets at 7:56 pm.. You will need a clear flat horizon to see Venus right after sunset. Venus is in the constellation Libra.


 SSW Sky 

Mars midmonth is at +0.1 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'08" located in the constellation Sagittarius visible after sunset in the south southwest. Mars sets at 10:54 pm. To see which part of the surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page. See: How to find degrees.


Morning Sky

A small telescope will easily reveal four of Jupiter's largest and brightest moons. Check out Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons Utility for other configurations. Sky and Telescope Red Spot Calculator 


Evening SW 

Saturn midmonth is at +0.6 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.16". Saturn sets at 9:02 pm. Saturn is in the constellation Ophiuchus visible after sunset.  See: How to find degrees. Through a small telescope Saturn will reveal the famous rings of the planet. Rings currently are +26.2° tilt. See: Saturn's moons locations 


Evening-Morning Sky E

Uranus midmonth is at 5.7 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.04" sets at 7:24 am in the constellation Pisces.

 A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a green-gray disk. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope


Evening Morning Sky SE

Neptune midmonth is at 7.8 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.02". Neptune is in the constellation Aquarius sets at 3:42 am..

See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Bright Asteroids Midmonth

Asteroid 1 Ceres at magnitude +7.4 in the constellation Cetus the Whale rises at 7:35 pm and sets at 7:37 am.. 1 Ceres is at opposition on October 21st.

Dwarf Planets


Evening Sky 

Pluto is located amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.2 and diameter 00°00'.00" setting at 11:16 pm..


No Comets Brighter than 8 magnitude

  For more on current Comets and locations see: Sky & Telescope also Seiichi Yoshida web site here.


October Meteors

The Orionid meteors peak on October 20-21. Unfortunately, glare from the waning gibbous Moon cuts their expected rate to 7–15 meteors per hour.

See: Listen to Meteors , American Meteor Society, Meteors Online also NASA All Sky Network

Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.

Satellites Visible from York

Satellites visible from Hanover

Satellites visible from Gettysburg

Satellites visible from Lancaster

Satellites visible from Baltimore

Satellites visible from Harrisburg

Also see: Spaceflight NASA

The Sun

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


Use your hand to find degrees

NASA Night Sky Network Planner

Free download. AstroPlanner  

Download a free starmap at: Skymaps

Make your own starmap at: Star Finder

Download a free Planetarium for your computer at: Stellarium or Hallo Northern Sky Stellarium has many extra features.

Your Sky - Fourmilab

Your night sky map on the internet

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart Register to use.

Sky Map