Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October Night Sky Events

October is a good month for observing. The sky is darker earlier, it's still not terribly cold outside (we hope), and there are different objects to see. For example, the Orion constellation is up and with it, the Orionid meteor shower.

On Oct. 8 at about 6 a.m., Venus should be shining brightly near the eastern horizon. Below that, depending where you are, you might spot Mercury and Saturn. By Oct. 13, at about 6:30 a.m., Saturn will have moved to the upper left of Venus. On Oct. 16, in the eastern sky, just before dawn, there should be a conjunction with the crescent Moon and Venus and Saturn. Then on Oct. 26 or 27, the Moon and Jupiter should be in conjunction at just three degrees apart.

A major event this month is the lunar landing of the LCROSS lunar rover. I believe it should be visible if you have a 10" or larger telescope. There is a countdown clock on the right side of this page.

Another important event this month is the RASC Saskatoon Centre open house at the Sleaford dark site. It is located about 65 kms east of Saskatoon and offers great celestial viewing. This event will be held on Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24. There will be a convoy of cars leaving from the east end of the Saskatoon Field House parking lot at 7 p.m. on both nights. The Sleaford site is operated jointly by the RASC Saskatoon Centre and the U of S Department of Physics and Engineering Physics. RASC club members will set up their own telescopes, in addition to the U of S telescopes that are setup there. For more information call 966-6429. Make sure to take warm, weather appropriate clothing.

Additional viewing events for October:

Oct. 7 - Moon 0.1 deg N of Pleiades (M45)
Oct. 8 - Draconid meteors peak; Mercury 0.3 deg S of Saturn
Oct. 10 - Moon 1.2 deg N of M35 (open star cluster in Gemini)
Oct. 12 - Occultation of the Moon and Mars
Oct. 13 - Moon at perigee (369067 kms)
Oct. 15 - Zodiacal light visible in eastern sky before morning twilight for the next two weeks
Oct. 21 - Orionid meteors peak
Oct. 25 - Moon at apogee (404166 kms)


  1. Well, so far, it's been 19 days of cloudy skies and no stars. At least I have pictures of the stars so I remember what they look like.

  2. Hey Astro-Nuts you are not the only one, cloudy here too. Have you had a chance to observe the Oct 9th deep impact, Nasa was crushing satellite into the moon surface in search for water.

    Hope all is well otherwise.

    Anna :)

  3. Long time no speak Anna. I hope you're well. It's been cloudy, snowy, and/or rainy for almost everyday this month so far. Missed every event on the calendar so far. Missed the Moon impact due to clouds, etc. Missed the Orionids, conjunctions, etc. Oh well, I guess there's always next month :(