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Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The Sky This Week - Thursday October 15 to Thursday October 22

The New Moon is Sunday October 18. Jupiter is is easily seen as the brightest object in the evening sky. In the morning, Mars is easily seen above the eastern horizon before dawn with Venus and Saturn low on the horizon. Saturn, Venus and the crescent Moon are close on Saturday October 17. On the Morning of the Thursday October 22 the Orionid Meteor Shower is at its best.

Morning sky looking east showing Venus, Saturn and the Moon at 6:00 am local daylight saving time (5:00 am non-daylight saving) on Saturday October 17. Click to embiggen.

The New Moon is Sunday October 18.

Mercury disappears in the morning twilight glow this week.

Saturn is low in the morning sky this week. It is a challenging object in the twilight, but becomes easier during the week as it rises. Saturn, Venus and the crescent Moon are close on Saturday October 17

Jupiter is easily seen as the brightest object in the evening sky. Jupiter is big enough to be appreciated in even the smallest telescope. If you don't have a telescope to view Jupiter, why not go to one of your local Astronomical Societies or Planetariums open nights? Jupiter's Moons are readily visible in binoculars or a small telescope.

Western horizon with the bright star Antares near the Moon at 9:00 pm local daylight saving time (8:00 pm non-daylight saving) on Wednesday October 21, click to embiggen.

In the morning, Venus and Mars are visible in the eastern sky. Red Mars is in the constellation of Gemini and forms a line with the bright stars Castor and Pollux.

Bright white Venus is close to the horizon, but is still readily visible in the dawn twilight if you have a clear, unobstructed horizon. Saturday morning October 17 Venus is close to the crescent Moon and Saturn. This is will require a clear, level horizon to see, and probably binoculars to see faint Saturn in the twilight. During the week Venus comes even closer to the horizon.

The northern horizon at 4:00 am daylight saving time (3:00 am non-daylight saving). The Orionid Meteor Radiant is marked with a cross (click to embiggen)

The Orionids are a worthwhile meteor shower, best seen between 3-5 am (daylight saving time), the radiant being just under Betelgueuse, the bright red star in Orion. This year the best viewing is the morning of the 22nd, when between 4-5 am you should see about a meteor every 3 minutes. However, you should see some decent meteors on the morning of the 21st as well. To check your local rates, go to the meteor flux estimator page and choose 8 Orionids, your location and type of skies (and make sure to set the date to 2009).

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm, Western sky at 10 pm. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch. Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.


the Saturn, Venus and Moon combo was beautiful this morning here in San Diego California.
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