#astronomy This Week’s Sky at a Look, October 11 – 19

October 21, 2019 - Comment

  The waning gibbous Moon crosses Taurus midweek, as you possibly can see in late night. It passes Aldebaran between the evenings of the 16th and 17th for the Americas. Friday, Oct. 11 • Quickly after darkish, you may discover zero-magnitude Arcturus low within the west-northwest on the identical top as zero-magnitude Capella shining within


Moon in Taurus, evenings of Oct. 15-17, 2019

The waning gibbous Moon crosses Taurus midweek, as you possibly can see in late night. It passes Aldebaran between the evenings of the 16th and 17th for the Americas.

Friday, Oct. 11

• Quickly after darkish, you may discover zero-magnitude Arcturus low within the west-northwest on the identical top as zero-magnitude Capella shining within the northeast.

When this occurs, flip to the south-southeast, and there will likely be 1st-magnitude Fomalhaut on the identical top — if you happen to’re at latitude 43° north. Seen from south of that latitude Fomalhaut will seem increased; from north of there it is going to be decrease.

Now flip southwest. No matter your latitude, you may discover brilliant Jupiter about as excessive as Fomalhaut.

Saturday, Oct. 12

• Look above the nearly-full Moon this night for the Nice Sq. of Pegasus by way of the moonlight. It is balancing on one nook, and your fist at arm’s size suits inside it. On your level on Earth, when it’s precisely balanced? That’s, when is the Sq.’s prime nook precisely above its backside nook? This may most likely by someday quickly after the top of twilight, relying rather a lot in your latitude. Strive lining up the celebs with the vertical fringe of a constructing as a measuring instrument.

Sunday, Oct. 13

• Full Moon (precise at 5:08 p.m. EDT). After darkish, look excessive above the Moon for the Nice Sq. of Pegasus standing on one nook.

• Cygnus the Swan flies almost straight overhead these evenings. Its brightest stars type the large Northern Cross, often seen even by way of brilliant moonlight. If you face southwest and crane your head up, the cross seems to face upright. It is about two fists at arm’s size tall, with Deneb as its prime. Or to place it one other manner, the Swan is diving straight down.

Decrease proper of it, if you’re going through southwest, shines brilliant Vega. Farther decrease left is Altair.

Monday, Oct. 14

• That is the time of yr when, in early to mid-evening, W-shaped Cassiopeia stands on finish midway up the northeastern sky — and when, off to its left, the dim Little Dipper extends leftward from Polaris within the north. By the intense moonlight, 2nd-magnitude Polaris and Kochab (the Little Dipper’s different finish) could also be all the celebs of the Little Dipper you see… at first….

Tuesday, Oct. 15

• Now that it is mid-October, Deneb has changed Vega because the zenith star after dusk (for skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes).

Accordingly, dim Capricornus has changed Sagittarius because the zodiacal constellation low within the south.

• As soon as the Moon is nicely up within the east, look to its left by a couple of fist and a half at arm’s size for the little Pleiades cluster glimmering by way of the moonlight, as proven on the prime of this web page.

Wednesday, Oct. 16

• Now, as night grows late, search for the Pleiades to the Moon’s higher left and twinkly Aldebaran to the Moon’s decrease left, as proven on the prime of this web page.

Thursday, Oct. 17

• The waning gibbous Moon rises an hour or extra after darkish tonight, accompanied by orange Aldebaran four° or 5° to its proper. The Pleiades watch from above.

Friday, Oct. 18

• Vega is the brightest star excessive within the west after darkish. To its decrease proper by 14° (almost a fist and a half at arm’s size), search for Eltanin, the nostril of Draco the Dragon. The remainder of Draco’s fainter, lozenge-shaped head is a bit farther behind. Draco at all times eyes Vega.

The primary stars of Vega’s personal constellation, Lyra — fairly faint by comparability — now lengthen to Vega’s left (by 7°).

Saturday, Oct. 19

• Vega shines excessive within the west after darkish. About equally excessive within the southwest is Altair, not fairly as brilliant. Simply higher proper of Altair, by a finger-width at arm’s size, spot little orange Tarazed. Down from Tarazed runs the stick-figure spine of Aquila, the Eagle.


Wish to turn out to be a greater astronomer? Be taught your manner across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding every little thing fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an outside nature pastime. For an easy-to-use constellation information protecting the entire night sky, use the large month-to-month map within the middle of every situation of Sky & Telescope, the important information to astronomy.

Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas cover

The Pocket Sky Atlas plots 30,796 stars to magnitude 7.6, and lots of of telescopic galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae amongst them. Proven above is the Jumbo Version for simpler studying within the evening. Pattern chart.

When you get a telescope, to place it to good use you may want an in depth, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The fundamental customary is the Pocket Sky Atlas (in both the unique or Jumbo Version), which exhibits stars to magnitude 7.6.

Subsequent up is the bigger and deeper Sky Atlas 2000.Zero, plotting stars to magnitude eight.5; almost 3 times as many. The following up, as soon as you understand your manner round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria 2000.Zero (stars to magnitude 9.75). And skim the best way to use sky charts with a telescope.

You will additionally need a good deep-sky guidebook, similar to Sue French’s Deep-Sky Wonders assortment (which incorporates its personal charts), Sky Atlas 2000.Zero Companion by Sturdy and Sinnott, or the larger Night time Sky Observer’s Information by Kepple and Sanner.

Can a computerized telescope change charts? Not for novices, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which are lower than top-quality mechanically (which means heavy and costly). And as Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer say of their Yard Astronomer’s Information, “A full appreciation of the universe can not come with out creating the abilities to seek out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This information comes solely by spending time beneath the celebs with star maps in hand.”

This Week’s Planet Roundup

Mercury and Venus are very low in brilliant twilight after sundown. Begin by making an attempt for Venus, magnitude –Three.9. It is simply above the west-southwest horizon a mere 20 minutes after sundown. Binoculars will assist.

Some eight° to its left is Mercury, a lot dimmer at magnitude –Zero.1 all week. That is solely Three% as brilliant as Venus! Good luck with it; convey binoculars at a minimal.

Mars (magnitude +1.eight) is a troublesome catch simply above the due-east horizon in early to mid- daybreak. Once more, you may want binoculars.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.Zero, within the ft of Ophiuchus) is the white dot low within the southwest as twilight fades. To Jupiter’s decrease proper by 11° or 12°, can you continue to spot Antares, one sixteenth as brilliant?

Jupiter is sort of on the far aspect of the Solar from us, showing solely 35 arcseconds extensive in a telescope and really smushy within the low-altitude seeing.

Saturn on August 23rd. Even six weeks earlier than quadrature, the globe’s black shadow on the rings was already pretty extensive and distinguished; it is decrease proper of the globe right here. South is up, celestial east is correct. Damian Peach took this picture remotely with the 1-meter Chilescope.

Saturn (magnitude +Zero.5, in Sagittarius) is the regular yellow “star” within the south-southwest throughout and after nightfall. It is 24° higher left of Jupiter.

Saturn is only a week previous its japanese quadrature with the Solar, so from our viewpoint, the planet’s globe casts its shadow farthest eastward onto the rings, giving the entire association its most Three-D look in a telescope. And the rings are tilted 25° into our line of sight, almost as open as we ever see them.

Under Saturn is the deal with of the Sagittarius Teapot, highlighted by 2.Zero-magnitude Sigma Sagittarii (Nunki). Barely above Saturn is the dimmer, smaller bowl of the Sagittarius Teaspoon.

Uranus (magnitude 5.7, in southern Aries) is nicely up within the east by 9 or 10 p.m. daylight saving time. It is highest within the south round 1 a.m.

Neptune (magnitude 7.eight, in japanese Aquarius) is pretty nicely up within the southeast proper after darkish and highest within the south by 10 p.m. See Bob King’s story on observing Neptune and our finder charts for Uranus and Neptune.

All descriptions that relate to your horizon — together with the phrases up, down, proper, and left — are written for the world’s mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that additionally depend upon longitude (primarily Moon positions) are for North America.

Japanese Daylight Time (EDT) is Common Time (UT, UTC, GMT, or Z time) minus four hours.

Audio sky tour. Out beneath the night sky along with your earbuds in place, hearken to Kelly Beatty’s month-to-month podcast tour of the heavens above. It is free.

“The hazards of not considering clearly are a lot higher now than ever earlier than. It is not that there is one thing new in our mind-set, it is that credulous and confused considering might be rather more deadly in methods it was by no means earlier than.”
— Carl Sagan, 1996

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