Girls at a NASA star party, astronomy event




Night Sky

Target Audience:

General Public


What's up for October? See planets, stars, an asteroid and a meteor shower – plus participate in International Observe the Moon Night! 

It's all in the October 2017 "What's Up" video from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Watch below, see a calendar of key dates and find related classroom lessons: 

Key Dates

  • Early October  Look for Saturn in the southwest sky above the red star Antares. 
  • Oct. 1  Look for a faint Mars below Venus.
  • Oct. 5  Mars and Venus get close.
  • Oct. 8-11  Watch the moon glide near the Pleiades star cluster and pass near the red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. 
  • Midmonth – See the Moon near the white star Regulus
  • Oct. 19 – Uranus reaches opposition. It may be bright enough to see with the naked eye – and for sure with binoculars. 
  • Oct. 20 – The peak of the Orionids meteor shower. 
  • Oct. 22-23  Find the Moon above Antares. 
  • Oct. 23   Saturn can be found above the Moon.
  • Oct. 24   Saturn can be found below the Moon. 
  • Oct. 28  Celebrate International Observe the Moon Night with your local astronomy club, Solar System Ambassador, museum or planetarium. Find an event near you.

Try these related lessons with students: 

  • Moon Phases – Students learn about the phases of the moon by acting them out.
  • Modeling the Earth-Moon System – Students learn about scale models and distance by creating a classroom-size Earth-Moon system.
  • Inflatable Planetarium – Students learn about star patterns and create their own constellation stories in a do-it-yourself planetarium.
  • Whip Up a Moon-Like Crater – Whip up a moon-like crater with baking ingredients as a demonstration for students.
  • Solar System Bead Activity – Students create a scale model of the solar system using beads and string.
  • Modeling an Asteroid – Lead a discussion about asteroids and their physical properties, then have students mold their own asteroids out of clay.