Astronomy Info & Events: October

Moon Phases

October 5Full Moon (Full Hunter’s Moon)

October 12: Last Quarter Moon

October 19: New Moon

October 27: First Quater Moon

Special Events

October 1 - 15: Great viewing opportunities to see the International Space Station in the evening sky!!  See http://www.heavens-above.com for all viewing times for your location or download the free smart phone app called Sputnik.

October 5: Close conjunction of the bright planet Venus with the much fainter planet Mars (0.2 degrees apart)

October 16: Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Edmonton Centre) meeting from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in the IMAX theatre at the TELUS World of Science. Special Presenter:  Dr. Stella Kafka, Observing Variable Stars with the AAVSO. Free to attend.

October 19: Uranus at opposition

October 20/21: Jasper Dark Sky Festival (Jasper, AB) TWOSE staff and RASC Edmonton Centre members will be there for stargazing and additional programming.  See you there!

October 21: Orionid meteor shower peaks

October 26: Jupiter in conjunction with the Sun

Visible Planets

Mercury is not visible this month from our latitude.  

Venus is unmistakable as the brightest point like object above the eastern horizon before sunrise during the month.  It is located within the constellation of Leo, the lion, until October 9 when it transitions into the adjacent constellation of Virgo, the maiden.  On the morning of October 5, look for the fainter planet Mars 0.2 degrees below Venus.  Venus will be seen by the waning crescent Moon on the mornings of October 17 and 18.

Mars is located above the eastern horizon before sunrise this month as a reddish looking object.  Look for the fainter planet Mars close to the planet Venus all month long.  On October 5, Mars and Venus will be at their closest to one another as seen in our sky, which will make identifying Mars much easier.  Look for the waning crescent Moon joining Mars and Venus in our predawn morning sky from October 16 to October 18.

Jupiter is not visible this month as it will be in conjunction with the Sun on October 26.

Saturn is located low in the southwestern sky after sunset residing within the lower east portion of the constellation of Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer. It can be found more easily by looking for it just above the spout of the “teapot” of the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer.  Look for Saturn near the waxing crescent Moon on the evenings of October 23 and 24.  Saturn’s rings are tilted by 26.7 degrees which provides for exceptional views of the ring system through a telescope.  Saturn will be a highlight of early evening stargazing from the RASC Observatory.