What's Up - October 2017
What's Up for October? International Observe the Moon Night, planet and moon pairups, and a meteor shower!
Hello and welcome! I'm Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
You can't miss bright Venus in the predawn sky. Look for fainter Mars below Venus on the 1st, really close on the 5th, and above Venus after that.
Midmonth, the moon is visible near Regulus, the white starry heart of the constellation Leo.
In the October 8-11 predawn sky watch the moon glide near the Pleiades star cluster and pass near the red stars Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus and Betelgeuse in Orion.
After dusk in the early part of the month look for Saturn in the southwest sky above another red star: Antares in Scorpius. Later in the month, find the moon above Antares October 22 and 23.
Saturn will be above the moon on the 23rd and below it on the 24th.
Uranus reach opposition on October 19th. It's visible all night long and its blue-green color is unmistakeable. It may be bright enough to see with your naked eye--and for sure in binoculars.
The Orionids peak on October 20--a dark, moonless night. Look near Orion's club in the hours before dawn and you may see up to 10 to 15 meteors per hour.
Use binoculars to look for bright asteroid 7 Iris in the constellation Aries. Newbies to astronomy should be able to spot this magnitude 6.9 asteroid --even from the city.
Look later in the month and sketch its positions a day or two apart--to see it move.
Finally, celebrate International Observe the Moon Night on October 28 with your local astronomy club, Solar System Ambassador, museum, or planetarium. The first quarter moon that night will display some great features!
You can find out about all of NASA's missions at: www.nasa.gov
That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.