October 2021 Astronomical Highlights
The Visible Planets
Mercury is not visible at the start of the month as it is at inferior conjunction (in between the Sun and the Earth) on October 9. It then begins to become visible low along the eastern horizon before sunrise around October 17, gaining elevation and becoming easier to see, for the rest of the month.
Venus is seen shining low along the southwestern horizon at sunset for the month. Look for Venus below the slim waxing crescent Moon after sunset on October 9.
Mars is too close the Sun to be seen and will be in conjunction with the Sun on October 7.
Jupiter is found shining brightly low in the southern sky at sunset. It is found in the constellation of Capricornus, the sea goat, and is seen just to the east of the fainter planet Saturn. On the evenings of October 14 and 15, look for Jupiter just above the waxing gibbous Moon.
Saturn is seen in southern sky at sunset, setting in the southwest about four hours later. It is in the constellation of Capricornus, along with the brighter planet Jupiter. On October 13, look for Saturn just above the first quarter Moon. Saturn continues to be one of the highlights of early evening observing at the RASC Observatory into the fall/winter period (observatory operation is dependant upon COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions).
October 6 New Moon
October 12 First Quarter Moon
October 20 Full Moon (The Hunter’s Moon)
October 28 Last Quarter Moon
International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes
During the month of October there will be several favourable passes of the ISS from October 1 to October 5, with the ISS visible in our early evening sky. On October 23, 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 4 Sputnik launched into space in 1957 (64 years ago)
October 4-10 World Space Week! This year we celebrate “Women in Space”
October 5 Marc Garneau, Canada’s first astronaut, launched into space 37 years ago.
October 11 Thanksgiving Day
Launch of NASA’s IM-1 CLPS lunar lander
October 15-24 Jasper Dark Sky Festival
See https://jasperdarksky.travel/ for more details of the event.
TWOSE staff will be at the event on Friday, Oct. 22 & Saturday, Oct. 23.
October 16 International Observe the Moon night
Launch of Lucy, NASA flyby mission to multiple Trojan asteroids
October 18 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Edmonton Centre) Meeting Tonight.
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Zoom meeting tonight. See https://edmontonrasc.com/ for details.
Free event, all invited! No in-person meeting.
October 21 Orionid meteor shower peaks in the early morning hours before sunrise.
October 25 Mercury at greatest elongation west (18°)
October 29 Venus at greatest elongation east (47°)
October 31 Happy Hallowe’en!