Steve’s Place

Photography and Astrophotography

Astro Calendar

Events of interest for October ….

October – Many thanks again for all your contributions to the group. Don’t ever forget, there is no such thing as a daft question in here. Noctilucent Cloud (NLC’s) season has finished and aurora season is well underway at this early stage so don’t forget to visit out sister group “AUK – Aurora UK” for reports on activity.

There are a few changes in this months “What’s Up” and I am trying to research as much upcoming activity as possible. There will be more postings on upcoming Deep Sky Objects (DSO’s) which are best placed for viewing. This is in part due to my own observatory now being functional and remoted and this also provides me some steerage on upcoming events. Jupiter is well worth looking at right now as it is at Opposition ie, it’s closest point. Even a decent pair of binoculars will reveal the planet along with up to 4 Jovian moons. However, you will be requiring a telescope to pick out the bands and the great spot. Unless of course you have some nice 30x x 100 bins on a mount !

October 01 – GALAXY – M110 (mag 8.9), the brightest satellite galaxy of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) will be well placed, high in the sky. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of 41°41’N, it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 28°S. From Scarborough, it will be visible all night. It will become visible around 20:02 (BST), 41° above your eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 05:36, 44° above your western horizon. At magnitude 8.1, M110 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

October 03 – MOON – The Moon will pass first quarter phase, appearing prominent in the evening sky and setting in the middle of the night. From Scarborough , it will be difficult to observe as it will appear no higher than 8° above the horizon. It will become visible around 18:55 (BST), 8° above your southern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then sink towards the horizon, setting 3 hours and 23 minutes after the Sun at 21:56. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, it appears almost exactly half illuminated. The Moon orbits the Earth once every four weeks, causing its phases to cycle through new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter, and back to new moon once every 29.5 days. As it progresses through this cycle, it is visible at different times of day. At first quarter, it appears high in the sky at sunset before sinking towards the horizon and setting in the middle of the night. Over coming days, the Moon will set later each day, becoming visible for more of the night. Within a few days, it will not make it very far above the eastern horizon before nightfall. By the time it reaches full phase, it will be visible for much of the night, rising at around dusk and setting at around dawn.

October 05 – MOON/SATURN – The Moon and Saturn will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 4°04′ to the south of Saturn. The Moon will be 10 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. From Scarborough, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 18:50 (BST), 11° above your south-eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 21:29, 19° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 00:43, when they sink below 7° above your south-western horizon. The Moon will be at mag -12.5, and Saturn at mag 0.3, both in the constellation Capricornus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

October 07 – METEORS – The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other showers. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the the night of the 7th. The first quarter moon will block out all but the brightest meteors this year. If you are patient, you may still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be in the early evening from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

October 08 – MOON/JUPITER – The Moon and Jupiter will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 2°03′ to the south of Jupiter. The Moon will be 13 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. From Scarborough, the pair will be visible between 19:04 and 05:04. They will become accessible around 19:04, when they rise to an altitude of 7° above your eastern horizon. They will reach their highest point in the sky at 00:04, 34° above your southern horizon. They will become inaccessible around 05:04 when they sink below 7° above your western horizon. The Moon will be at mag -12.7, and Jupiter at mag -2.9, both in the constellation Pisces. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

October 08 – MERCURY – The planet Mercury reaches greatest western elongation of 18 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

October 09 – FULL MOON – The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 20:55 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Hunters Moon because at this time of year the leaves are falling and the game is fat and ready to hunt. This moon has also been known as the Travel Moon and the Blood Moon.

October 11 – METEORS – The δ-Aurigid meteor shower will be active from 10 October to 18 October, producing its peak rate of meteors around 11 October. Over this period, there will be a chance of seeing δ-Aurigid meteors whenever the shower’s radiant point – in the constellation Auriga – is above the horizon, with the number of visible meteors increasing the higher the radiant point is in the sky. From Scarborough the radiant point is circumpolar, which means it is always above the horizon and the shower will be active throughout the night. The shower is likely produce its best displays in the hours around 05:00 BST, when its radiant point is highest in the sky. At this time, the Earth’s rotation turns Scarborough to face optimally towards the direction of the incoming meteors, maximising the number that rain vertically downwards, producing short trails close to the radiant point. At other times, there will be fewer meteors burning up over Scarborough, and they will tend to enter the atmosphere at an oblique angle, producing long-lived meteors that may traverse a wide area of the sky before completely burning up. The shower is expected to reach peak activity at around 17:00 BST on 11 October 2022, and so the best displays might be seen after dusk on 11 October. From Scarborough, the radiant of the shower will appear at a peak altitude of 79° above your horizon, and on the basis of this, we estimate that you may be able to see up to 1 meteors per hour at the shower’s peak. The Moon, in Aries, will be only 2 days past full phase at the shower’s peak, presenting significant interference throughout the night.

October 12 – MOON/URANUS – The Moon and Uranus will make a close approach, passing within a mere 47.2 arcminutes of each other. The Moon will be 17 days old. From Scarborough, the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 20:01, when they reach an altitude of 7° above your eastern horizon. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 02:40, 52° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight around 06:59, 28° above your western horizon. The Moon will be at mag -12.5; and Uranus will be at mag 5.7. Both objects will lie in the constellation Aries. They will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars.

October 15 – MOON/MARS – The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 3°35′ of each other. The Moon will be 20 days old. From Scarborough, the pair will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 21:41, when they reach an altitude of 7° above your north-eastern horizon. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 04:59, 58° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight around 07:04, 50° above your south-western horizon. The Moon will be at mag -12.2; and Mars will be at mag -0.9. Both objects will lie in the constellation Taurus. They will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the pair will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

October 15 – GALAXY – The Triangulum galaxy (M33; mag 6.3) will be well placed, high in the sky. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of 30°39’N, it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 39°S. From Scarborough, it will be visible all night. It will become visible around 19:28 (BST), 28° above your eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 01:01, 66° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 06:02, 32° above your western horizon. At magnitude 5.7, M33 is too faint to be seen with the naked eye from any but the very darkest sites, but is visible through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

October 17 – MOON – The Moon will pass last quarter phase, rising in the middle of the night and appearing prominent in the pre-dawn sky. From Scarborough, it will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 23:27, when it reaches an altitude of 7° above your north-eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 07:06, 61° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 07:08, 61° above your southern horizon. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, it appears almost exactly half illuminated. The Moon orbits the Earth once every four weeks, causing its phases to cycle through new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter, and back to new moon once every 29.5 days. As it progresses through this cycle, it is visible at different times of day. At last quarter, it rises in the middle of the night and appears high in the sky by dawn. It sets at around lunchtime.

October 18 – METEORS – The ε-Geminid meteor shower will be active from 14 October to 27 October, producing its peak rate of meteors around 18 October. Over this period, there will be a chance of seeing ε-Geminid meteors whenever the shower’s radiant point – in the constellation Gemini – is above the horizon, with the number of visible meteors increasing the higher the radiant point is in the sky. Seen from Scarborough , the shower will not be visible before around 20:56 each night, when its radiant point rises above your eastern horizon. It will then remain active until dawn breaks around 06:56. The radiant point culminates (is highest in the sky) after dawn – at around 06:00 BST – and so the shower is likely produce its best displays shortly before dawn, when its radiant point is highest. At this time, the Earth’s rotation turns Scarborough to face optimally towards the direction of the incoming meteors, maximising the number that rain vertically downwards, producing short trails close to the radiant point. At other times, there will be fewer meteors burning up over Scarborough, but those that do will tend to enter the atmosphere at an oblique angle, producing long-lived meteors that may traverse a wide area of the sky before completely burning up. The shower is expected to reach peak activity at around 19:00 BST on 18 October 2022, and so the best displays might be seen after the radiant rises on 18 October.

October 21/22 – METEORS – The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. It peaks this year on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22. The thin, crescent moon will leave mostly dark skies for what should be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

October 23 – SATURN – Saturn will reach the end of its retrograde motion, ending its westward movement through the constellations and returning to more usual eastward motion instead. This reversal of direction is a phenomenon that all the solar system’s outer planets periodically undergo, a few months after they pass opposition. The retrograde motion is caused by the Earth’s own motion around the Sun. As the Earth circles the Sun, our perspective changes, and this causes the apparent positions of objects to move from side-to-side in the sky with a one-year period. This nodding motion is super-imposed on the planet’s long-term eastward motion through the constellations.

October 24 – METEORS – The Leonis Minorid meteor shower will be active from 19 October to 27 October, producing its peak rate of meteors around 24 October. Over this period, there will be a chance of seeing Leonis Minorid meteors whenever the shower’s radiant point – in the constellation Leo Minor – is above the horizon, with the number of visible meteors increasing the higher the radiant point is in the sky. From Scarborough the radiant point is circumpolar, which means it is always above the horizon and the shower will be active throughout the night. The radiant point culminates (is highest in the sky) after dawn – at around 10:00 BST – and so the shower is likely produce its best displays shortly before dawn, when its radiant point is highest. At this time, the Earth’s rotation turns Scarborough to face optimally towards the direction of the incoming meteors, maximising the number that rain vertically downwards, producing short trails close to the radiant point. At other times, there will be fewer meteors burning up over Scarborough, but those that do will tend to enter the atmosphere at an oblique angle, producing long-lived meteors that may traverse a wide area of the sky before completely burning up. The shower is expected to reach peak activity at around 19:00 BST on 24 October 2022.

October 25 – NEW MOON – The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 10:49 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

October 25 – SOLAR ECLIPSE – The Moon will pass in front of the Sun, creating a partial eclipse of the Sun visible from Africa, Asia, Europe, Greenland and Guernsey between 10:00 and 14:01 BST. From Scarborough, the Sun will be eclipsed to a maximum of 19%, but elsewhere in United Kingdom the Sun will be eclipsed to a maximum of 37%. In the northern hemisphere, a maximum of 82% of the Sun’s disk will be eclipsed by the Moon, but nowhere on Earth will see a total solar eclipse. This is because the alignment between the Sun and Moon in the sky will not be very exact. In any eclipse, the point of central (or greatest) eclipse is where the line connecting the centers of the Sun and Moon falls onto the Earth’s surface, when continued past the Moon. This is the vantage point where the Moon appears to be exactly centered on the middle of the Sun. As the eclipse progresses, this point sweeps across the Earth’s surface from west to east. However, in a partial eclipse, it passes either above the north pole or below the south pole, without crossing the Earth’s surface at any point. In this case, it passes above the north pole, with only the edge of the Moon’s shadow falling onto the Earth. This creates a partial eclipse.

October 26 – STAR CLUSTER – The open star cluster NGC 869 (mag 4.0) in Perseus, also known as the western half of the double cluster will be well placed, high in the sky. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of 57°07’N, it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 12°S. From Scarborough, it will be visible all night because it is circumpolar. It will be highest in the sky at 01:03, 87° above your northern horizon. At dusk, it will become visible around 19:05 (BST), 43° above your north-eastern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 06:22, 47° above your north-western horizon. At magnitude 5.3, NGC869 is too faint to be seen with the naked eye from any but the very darkest sites, but is visible through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

October 27 – STAR CLUSTER – The open star cluster NGC 884 (mag 4.0) in Perseus, also known as the eastern half of the double cluster will be well placed, high in the sky. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of 57°08’N, it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 12°S. From Scarborough, it will be visible all night because it is circumpolar. It will be highest in the sky at 01:02, 87° above your northern horizon. At dusk, it will become visible around 19:03 (BST), 43° above your north-eastern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 06:24, 47° above your north-western horizon. At magnitude 6.1, NGC884 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

October 30 – MARS – Mars will enter retrograde motion, halting its usual eastward movement through the constellations, and turning to move westwards instead. This reversal of direction is a phenomenon that all the solar system’s outer planets periodically undergo, a few months before they reach opposition. The retrograde motion is caused by the Earth’s own motion around the Sun. As the Earth circles the Sun, our perspective changes, and this causes the apparent positions of objects to move from side-to-side in the sky with a one-year period. This nodding motion is super-imposed on the planet’s long-term eastward motion through the constellations.

Observations and imaging now being conducted at the Muston Observatory (MOBS) near Filey, North Yorks
Muston Observatory – https://www.facebook.com/groups/mustonobs

Don’t forget our sister group with near real time aurora alerts ….
AUK – Aurora UK – https://www.facebook.com/groups/AuroraUK/

Note: Times are marked BST those without BST are UTC (ie an hour less)
Thanks to: in-the-sky.org, Sky at Night and various online astronomy calendars + own input

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