October 2022 Astronomical Highlights
The Visible Planets
Mercury begins a favourable apparition this month for northern hemisphere observers. Look for Mercury to reappear low above the eastern horizon before sunrise at the start of the month, reaching its greatest western elongation on October 8. After October 8, Mercury begins to slip back toward the rising Sun and by the last week of October disappears into the dawn’s light. On the morning of October 21, watch for a nice passage of the ISS above Mercury around 7:12 a.m. from Edmonton (please note that the time may change due to changes in the orbit of the ISS). Before sunrise on October 24, use binoculars to spot Mercury next to the very slim waxing crescent Moon.
Venus is not visible this month and reaches superior conjunction on October 22.
Mars is brightening nicely now as it continues to approach its date of opposition in early December. It is located within the zodiac constellation of Taurus, the bull, all night long and is situated between the two stars, Elnath and Tianguan, which mark the tips of the horns of the bull. Look for Mars just below the waning gibbous Moon on the night of October 14/15. Mars begins its retrograde motion at the end of the month.
Jupiter rises in the east just before sunset and is visible all night long, setting in the west by sunrise. Look for Jupiter about 36 degrees above the southern horizon around local midnight. It will be the brightest object visible in the southern sky at that time. Jupiter continues its retrograde loop through the stars of the zodiac constellation of Pisces, the fish, through the month. Jupiter can be seen near the waxing gibbous Moon on the nights of October 7 and 8.
Saturn is seen above the southeastern horizon at sunset this month, still within the zodiac constellation of Capricornus, the sea goat. It gains elevation through the night, appearing highest at local midnight, around 20 degrees above the southern horizon. Saturn can be seen near the waxing gibbous Moon on the nights of October 4 and 5. Saturn sets along the southwestern horizon over the evening.
October 2 First Quarter Moon
October 9 Full Moon (The Hunter’s Moon)
October 17 Last Quarter Moon
October 25 New Moon
International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes
During the month of October there will be a few passes of the ISS from October 1 to October 3, with the ISS visible in our early evening sky. On October 21, ISS visible passes move into our early morning sky before sunrise. Check the website http://www.heavens-above.com for exact viewing times for your location.
October 1 International Observe the Moon night
October 4 Sputnik launched into space in 1957 (65 years ago)
October 8 Mercury is at its greatest western elongation (18 degrees west of the Sun)
October 4-10 World Space Week!
October 5 Marc Garneau, Canada’s first astronaut, launched into space 38 years ago.
October 10 Thanksgiving Day
October 11 The Moon occults the planet Uranus from 11:14 p.m. to 12:19 a.m. Oct. 12.
October 14-23 Jasper Dark Sky Festival
See https://jasperdarksky.travel/ for more details of the event.
TWOSE staff will be at the event on Friday, Oct. 21 & Saturday, Oct. 22.
October 17 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Edmonton Centre) Meeting Tonight.
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. mix and mingle and 7:30 p.m.– 9:30 p.m. meeting
The RASC Meeting will be both an in-person meeting in the Zeidler Dome at the TELUS World of Science – Edmonton and on-line by Zoom. You can find the Zoom link at https://edmontonrasc.com/.
October 21 Orionid meteor shower peaks in the early morning hours before sunrise.
October 22 Venus at superior conjunction
October 30 Mars stationary (will begin retrograde motion after this time)
October 31 Happy Hallowe’en!