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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The Sky This Week - Thursday October 22 to Thursday October 29

The First Quarter Moon is Monday October 26. Jupiter is is easily seen as the brightest object in the evening sky. In the morning, Mars is easily seen above the eastern horizon near the Beehive clsuter. Venus and Saturn are low on the dawn horizon. On the morning of the Thursday October 22 the Orionid Meteor Shower is at its best.

Morning sky looking north-east showing Mars near the Beehive cluster at 4:00 am local daylight saving time (3:00 am non-daylight saving) on Thursday October 29. Click to embiggen.

The First Quarter Moon is Monday October 26.

Mercury is currently not visible.

Saturn is low in the morning sky this week. It is a difficult object in the twilight, but becomes easier during the week as it rises.

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. The waxing Moon is near Jupiter on Tuesday October 27.

Western horizon showing Jupiter near the Moon at 12:00 pm local daylight saving time (11:00 pm non-daylight saving) on Tuesday October 27, click to embiggen.

In the morning, Venus and Mars are visible in the eastern sky. Red Mars heads for the the constellation of Cancer and by the end of the week is near the Beehive cluster.

Bright white Venus is very close to the horizon, but is still readily visible in the dawn twilight if you have a clear, unobstructed horizon. 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 23rd 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.


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