Astronomy

Evening Planets:
Venus is very low in the West and sets about 20 minutes after Sunset on 1 October. Each evening Venus is moving closer to the Sunset and is setting earlier. By 5 October, the planet has moved into the glow of Sunset and is lost from view. As the Autumn Season progresses, we will be losing our collection of evening planets.
Jupiter is low in the SW at Dusk. The planet is losing altitude each evening. At the beginning of the month, Jupiter sets about 2 hours after Sunset. By the end of the month, it sets about 1 hour after Sunset.
Saturn is low in the SSW as evening darkness falls. Just like Jupiter, Saturn is losing some altitude each evening. The planet also dims down a bit as the month progresses.
Mars is low in the South as evening darkness falls. As the month progresses, Mars loses more brightness and is starting to look a little dull.
Mercury becomes an evening planet at the end of the month. The planet is so low on the Western horizon and stuck in the glow of Sunset that it will be extremely hard to see at all.

Morning Planet:
There are no bright planets that are easily visible in the morning sky this month. Next month Venus will be in the morning sky.

2 Oct Last Quarter Moon, Dawn
11 Oct Thin Crescent Moon above Jupiter, Dusk
14 Oct Thick Crescent Moon right of Saturn, Dusk
17 Oct Waxing Gibbous Moon right of Mars, Dusk
18 Oct Waxing Gibbous Moon left of Mars, Dusk
21-22 Oct Orionid Meteor Shower
31 Oct Last Quarter Moon, Dawn

Octobers Last Quarter Moons:
The month of October gives us two fine Last Quarter Moons. The first Last Quarter Moon happens in the Pre – Dawn hours of the morning of 2 October. This is the highest altitude Last Quarter Moon for the year. The second Last Quarter Moon will be on the morning of 31 October (Halloween). This Last Quarter Moon will be slightly larger than the Moon on 2 October. Both of these Last Quarter Moons are the best for the year and are very favorably placed for observation. This is a great time to observe these Last Quarter Moons in a telescope.

Orionid Meteor Shower:
The Orionid Meteor Shower will happen on the night of 21-22 October. Unfortunately for us, this meteor shower is highly unfavorable for our viewing area. The meteor shower predicted peak happens in broad daylight. The almost Full Moon will ruin the view of the meteors all night long. You should consider yourself lucky if you can even see 10 meteors per hour. The almost Full Moon has ruined another meteor shower.

Written by
Gary T. Nowak
Vermont Astronomical Society