Here is a quick look at what’s happening astronomically in October 2013. Mark your calendars.
The name for October is derived from the Latin “Octo” meaning “eight” which came after September (derived from Latin for seven) the seventh month of the Roman calendar until 46 BC when the beginning of the year was changed to from March to January.
New Moon: October 4
Closest to Earth: October 10 (229,792 miles super-size Moon)
First Quarter Moon: October 11
Full Moon: October 18
Farthest from Earth: October 25 (251,380 miles)
Last Quarter Moon: October 26
At sunset: Mercury and Saturn look west (Very difficult to see in the glare of the sunset).
Early Evening: Venus, look southwest
Morning before sunrise: Jupiter look south overhead, Mars look east.
Mercury and Saturn are behind the Sun by mid-month.
October 23: The Sun enters the astrological sign Scorpio.
October 30: Sun enters the astronomical constellation Libra.
October 27: Europe returns to standard time from “Daylight Displacement Time”.
October 31: Cross-quarter day (Halloween). Cross-quarter days occure half way between the seasons. They mark the time when we start to feel the effects of the upcoming season. Although winter does not officially start until December 21 (winter solstice), by Halloween we begin to feel the effects of old man winter.
October 8: The Draconids or Giacobinids are very favorable (several per hour) this year but no major activity is predicted. This shower is noted for exploding with a thousand of meteor per hour as it did in 1933 and 1946. Unlike most showers it is best to observe this shower in the early evening. Look high in the northwest.
October 21: The Orionids are very favorable (several per hour). Look east in the very early morning hours.
October 7 Comet ISON passes close to Mars at 6.7 million miles. At this distance the comet will be reasonably bright. The rovers on Mars and spacecraft orbing Mars will be taking pictures. If successful these will be the first pictures taken of a comet from another planet.
October 14: Mars meets (conjunction) the star Regulus in the constellation Leo in the predawn eastern sky. The two will about two moon diameters apart. If you have the time, start watching at the beginning of the month. You can observe Mars move in its orbit each day toward Regulus and past it by mid-month. The motion of the planets and such pairings were of great significance to our ancestors.
October 5th, 1954 – American Aerobee rocket captures the first space images of a hurricane.
October 18th, 1967 – Soviet probe Venera 4 descends through the Venusian atmosphere becoming the first probe to measure the atmosphere of another planet.
Wishing you clear skies