Pull out your telescope to see Saturn's black-and-white moon Iapetus. And there's something for everyone on Halloween: Jupiter for the early crowd and Mars for the late-night trick or treaters.


This month I'll tell you some tricks and some treats that you can see in the night sky. I'm Jane Houston Jones at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

One of the tricks of October is to see Saturn's moon Iapetus. Iapetus is a really cool moon. It's the third largest moon of Saturn and it has one hemisphere that's bright as snow and the other half is as dark as coal.

Cassini flew by so that it could see the borders between the dark part and the light part and investigate this weird mountain range that seems to go right along the equator of the moon. Iapetus is tricky to see because most people don't know where to look to see it. But on October 13 and for the week on either side of Oct. 13, you'll be able to look to the south of Saturn and see a little moon there. You have to get up before dawn.

It'll look like a star. You'll definitely need a telescope, pretty much any medium-sized telescope. If you're up early looking at Iapetus and Saturn, you'll get a treat. You'll also see Venus in the same part of the sky. There's a lot more in store for those trick or treaters at the end of the month.

The early trick or treaters will probably get to see the planet Jupiter low on the western horizon. That'll be in the early part of the evening, right, oh, right after sunset. But for the later trick or treaters, they'll be able to see Mars and just in time for Halloween it's the pumpkin-colored object in the sky.

We call it the red planet because it has a lot of reddish colors on it but when we look at it with our eyes and through a telescope, it actually looks a little more orange. October is the beginning of the great crescendo of viewing Mars and it's just going to get better and better over the next few months.

You can get our sky charts and other resources at education.jpl.nasa.gov, just click on the What's Up button.

You can learn all about NASA's missions at www.nasa.gov .

That's all for this month. Trick or treat. I'm Jane Houston Jones.

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