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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Tues. Oct. 2 – This is Last Quarter Moon night. As well as being able to enjoy seeing the neatly divided sphere rise after midnight, you can look forward to seeing our neighbour high the sky the following morning.

Thurs. Oct. 4 – For those up and around in the early morning hours the waning crescent Moon and M44, the Beehive Cluster, will be close to each other in the east-northeast sky.

Fri. Oct. 5 – The narrowing crescent Moon has moved into the vicinity of Leo low in the pre-dawn sky. About four finger-widths below the crescent you will see bright Regulus.

Mon. Oct. 8 – This is New Moon night, the heart of the dark moon period, inviting getting out the telescope for observing, imaging and sketching deep sky objects.

Wed. Oct. 10 - Another reminder that the Zodiacal Light can be seen at its fall best at this time of year. Created by the Sun illuminating dust particles in the equatorial plane of the solar system, the faint elongated triangle of light extends up into the pre-dawn eastern sky with a bit of a tilt to the right.

Thurs. Oct. 11 – A very young fingernail paring crescent Moon will pose only about two finger-widths from bright Jupiter low in the west after sunset.

Sun. Oct. 14 – Early this evening the waxing crescent Moon will cozy up to Saturn, approaching about as close as its encounter with Jupiter on Thursday.

Tues. Oct. 16 – This is First Quarter Moon night providing a sight that never fails to inspire awe as the half lit sphere is poised high in the evening sky, complementing scenic surroundings which reflect the character of the current season.

Wed. Oct. 17  – Tonight the ‘Demon Star’ Algol will give us a subtle wink. This is a gradual event lasting about two hours, centered at 10.50pm. Check the star in Perseus before 9 o’clock and compare its brightness with surrounding stars, then revisit it at its dimmest around 10.30pm. You may share the experience of what was once a huge mystery to observers before Algol was discovered to be an eclipsing binary star.

Wed. Oct. 17 – The waxing gibbous Moon will approach the position of Mars tonight, as the red planet enters the latter part of its 2018 appearance. Tomorrow night Luna will have moved to the other side of the still bright orange beacon.

Sat. Oct. 20 – For those interested in glimpsing the outer ice giant Neptune, the bluish planet will be found about two finger widths above the waxing gibbous Moon. Large binoculars or a telescope can reveal the ‘unblinking star’.

Sat. Oct. 20 – For those who missed Algol’s performance last Wednesday, there will be another minimum of the eclipsing binary tonight, with the two hour fainter period centered at 10.39pm. A ‘before’ look around 8.30pm can be compared to its diminished brightness around 10.30pm.

Sun. Oct. 21 - The Orionid meteor shower will peak this afternoon, so early this morning or late tonight would be opportunities to try to ‘catch some falling stars’. Unfortunately the waxing gibbous Moon will drown out the fainter members earlier in the evening before it sets. While this is not a prominent meteor shower, the radiant is in Orion which is well placed in the southern sky.

Wed. Oct. 24 – Tonight the Full Moon can guide you to Uranus which just passed opposition (opposite the Sun from the Earth) yesterday. You can look for the pale green planet with binoculars or a telescope about three finger-widths above the fully lit sphere which is marking its annual appearance as ‘The Hunter’s Moon’.

Fri. Oct. 26 – It is always a beautiful sight to see the Moon in the vicinity of the splendor of the Hyades open cluster in Taurus, and that is what the just past full Moon will be up to tonight.

Mon. Oct. 29 – An interesting telescope (or binocular) challenge is offered tonight as giant Jupiter comes to within the width of two fingers of innermost Mercury low in the western sky after sunset.

Wed. Oct. 31 – This is Last Quarter Moon night, promising the coming of the next dark moon period for deep sky activities. As on October 4, the Moon will be in the vicinity of M44 the Beehive Cluster, inviting a beautiful binocular experience.