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October 2007
S M T W T F S
     
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31

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Download this month's sky map!

Kym Thalassoudis does a wonderful job creating accurate and easy to use star maps every month! Visit his site at www.skymaps.com for skymaps and links to other useful astronomical sites. Also a great portal for astronomical gifts!

Northern hemisphere sky map
Southern hemisphere sky map

Those in the Southern Hemisphere should also visit James Barclay's site for a great tour of the Southern Hemisphere October sky.

Another great site for Southern Hemisphere viewers is the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand's Southern Hemisphere Calendar can be found at the RASNZ site
Ian Musgrave has a very handy Southern Hemisphere site called Southern Sky Watch.

Download "What's up 2007: 365 days of Skywatching" by Tammy Plotner, published by Universe Today (Faser Cain) it is a fantastic and it is free!

Planets for October 2007

Keep and eye on Venus, Saturn, Regulus (and waning crescent moons) all month long..
  • Mercury- In Virgo Mercury is well placed in the evening sky for more Southern viewers (South of 30 degrees N) into mid October. Mercury is stationary on th 12th and then moves into inferior conjunction October 24th. Poor viewing for Northern viewers 0.1 mag (1st) to 3.9 mag (21st)
  • Venus- In Leo Venus is brilliant in the morning sky and climbing higher daily. Venus, Saturn and Regulus make a attractive triangle for the unaided eye for several days around October 13th. Venus dominates the morning sky reaching greatest elongation west October 28th -4.4 mag (1st) to - 4.3 mag (21st)
  • Mars- In Gemini. Earth is slowly catching up to Mars so the red planet will continue to look larger through December when Earth and Mars are their closest approach. -0.1 (1st) to -0.4 mag (21st)
  • Jupiter- Starts the month near globular cluster NGC6235. Jupiter, in Ophiuchus sets an not long after the sun by mid-month. Take advantage of October to enjoy the gas giant before we start losing him in the sun's glare as we go into the end of the year -2.0 mag (1st) to -1.9 mag (21st)
  • Saturn- In Leo Saturn rises several hours before sunrise with Venus and Regulus in a nice little trio. 0.7 mag (1st) to 0.8 mag (21st)
  • Uranus-In Aquarius 5.7 mag (1st) to 5.8 mag (21st)
  • Neptune-Will camp out in Capricorn all year long 7.9 mag (1st) to 7.8 mag (21st)

Key Dates for October 2007

Great site for sunrise and sunset times and a downloadable toolbar application by Steve Edwards

Astronomical Highlights
October Great Worldwide Star Count!
2 - Mars 5 deg S of Moon
3 - Last Quarter moon (10:07 UT)

- Mars .9 deg S of M35 at the foot of Castor
4 - Go outside and look for satellites and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Sputnik! (more....)
5 - Moon 1.1 deg N of the Beehive M44

- Comet 96P/Machholz 1.7 deg NE of Jupiter (faint - mag 11?)
7 - Venus 3 deg S of Moon

- Regulus .2 deg S, Saturn 1.3 deg N of Moon, possible occultation (7:00 UT) Check the webpages for the International Occultation and Timing Association for possible occultation for your area.
8 - Draconid meteors peak
9 - Venus 3 deg S of Regulus. Venus, Saturn and Regulus in a nice cluster
11 - New Moon

- Good time to start your lookout for Comet 8P/Tuttle (currently very faint 12th mag). Starts out in October near Polaris moving into Cepheus in early December possible brightening to naked eye magnitude as it reaches Cassiopeia around the 22nd of Dec. Which of us will be first to spot it?
12 - Mercury stationary
13 - Mercury 1.3 deg N of Moon

- Moon at apogee (406492 km)
15 - Venus 3 deg S of Saturn

- Antares .6 deg N of Moon, possible occultation (15:00 UT) Check the webpages for the International Occultation and Timing Association for possible occultation for your area.
16 - Jupiter 5 deg N of Moon
18 - Double shadow transit on Jupiter (8:42 UT) First of 16 in the next 30 days
19 - First Quarter

- Zodiacal Lights visible in N latitude in East before morning twilight for next two week
21 - Neptune 1.3 deg N of Moon, possible occultation (3:00 UT) Check the webpages for the International Occultation and Timing Association for possible occultation for your area.

- Double shadow transit on Jupiter (21:39 UT)

- Orionid meteor peak
24 - Mercury in inferior conjunction
25 - Double shadow transit on Jupiter (10:36 UT)
26 - Full Moon (largest in 2007) Moon at perigee (356733) Large tides
28 - Moon 1.0 deg N of Pleiades (M45)

- Venus at greatest elongation

- Roll the clocks back an hour, check your area news listings for details

- Double shadow transit on Jupiter (23:34)
30 - Double shadow transit on Jupiter (18:02)

- Moon, Mars, Castor and Pollux in a nice group this evening
31 - Neptune stationary

- Halloween (31) All Saints' Day (Nov 1) All Souls' Day (Nov 2) Our fourth (last)cross-quarter day (Nov 5-8) (more information..)


Occultation information can be found at the IOTA website!

Historical and Current Events

...Did you know?

Culled from Wikipedia and others, by Mark Tillotson (Thank you Mark!)

October
1 1847 Maria Mitchell, (8/1/1818-6/28/1889) the first woman astronomer in the United States, discovered a comet which was referred to as "Miss Mitchell's Comet".

1958 NASA was created by an Act of Congress to replace NACA.
2 1608 Johannes Lippershey, (c.1570-c.1619) demonstrated a new invention, the first optical (refracting) telescope.
4 1957 Launch of Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. This marked the beginning of the 'Space Race.'
5 1882 b- Robert Goddard, (d. 8/10/1945) American rocket scientist, "Father of Modern Rocketry". Launched 1st rocket 3/26/1926. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center was established in his memory.
10 1846 Neptune's moon, Triton, is discovered by William Lassell while he was observing the newly discovered planet Neptune. He was attempting to confirm his observation of the previous week, that Neptune had a ring. Instead he discovered that Neptune had a satellite.
View entire historical calendar!

Monthly Messier*

Sliding into October we complete our tour of the wonders in Sagittarius. Sixteen Messier objects are found within the constellation of Sagittarius, we will seek the six that remain to be seen on our tour. We will also search for three others just north of Sagittarius in the Milky Way.

Our October tour includes two nebulae and the clusters that power them, four open clusters, a star cloud, and lastly two globular clusters. All of these objects are possible in binoculars, most are easy in even small binoculars. Several of these are also possible naked eye objects.

M24 - This "object" is actually a section of the Milky Way in Sagittarius. It is easily seen with the naked eye as a fuzzy, oval patch about four times the size of the full moon. The best views are through binoculars or rich field telescopes.
M25 - Just east of M24 in Sagittarius we find this open cluster. Visible to the naked eye, M25 lies in the same binocular field as M24. In binoculars it appears as a partially resolved star cluster buried in faint nebulosity. A view through a telescope shows the nebulosity is in fact many faint stars that are not resolved in small instruments.
M18 - This is a small open cluster just north of M24 in Sagittarius. In binoculars M18 is easy to see as a small fuzzy patch of light in the same field of view as M24. Telescopes reveal this cluster for what it is, a small, sparse collection of fairly bright stars.
M17 - Just north of M18 and in the same binocular field as M24 and M18 lies the Omega nebula. Possible to see with the naked eye and easy with binoculars, this nebula appears as a small faint patch of fuzz. A telescope will show the unique V shape nebulosity that gives the cluster its name. The shape reminds me of a swan with two bright stars that power the cluster embedded in the head and neck of the swan.
M16 - Continuing north of M17 we find another nebula in Serpens. To the naked eye and binoculars, this small patch of haze is very similar in appearance to M17 which is in the same binocular field of view. Through a telescope the M16 looks like a sparse open cluster of stars surrounded by faint wisps of smoke.
M26 - Continuing to head north through the Milky Way we find this open cluster in the constellation Scutum. This is a difficult object to find in binoculars, but possible as a faint patch of fuzz. Telescopes partially resolve this cluster and show several stars buried in a faint glow from the unresolved stars.
M11 - Just north of M26 in Scutum lies the Wild Duck Cluster. Possible to see with the naked eye, binoculars show a small faint patch surrounding a bright star. Telescopes resolve many of the stars in this very rich cluster.
M55 - Dipping back into Sagittarius we find two more globular clusters waiting for us. The first is one of the brightest and largest globulars in the catalogue. Possible to see naked eye, it is an easy binocular object appearing as a bright fuzzy ball of light. Telescopes show a round patch of light bright in the center and fading toward the edges. Large apertures are needed to resolve this globular.
M75 - The last object of the month, and the last object to be visited in Sagittarius. In binoculars, M75 is not too hard to see, look for a small fuzzy star. A telescope will show a small fuzz ball with a bright center.

From the Astronomical Connection and the Moncton Center in Canada

Astronomical Highlights for 2007

Earth's major motions for 2007
Perihelion
Jan 3 20h(UT)
First Cross Quarter Day
Feb 2-6
Equinox
Mar 21 00:07(UT)
Second Cross Quarter Day
May 4-7
Solstice
June 21 18:06(UT)
Aphelion
July 4 00h (UT)
Third Cross Quarter Day
Aug 5-8
Equinox
Sept 23 19:51(UT)
Fourth Cross Quarter Day
Nov 5-8
Solstice
Dec 22 06:08(UT)

Planet Positions for 2007

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Venus Sgr Aqr Psc Ari Tau Gem Leo Sex Cnc Leo Leo Vir
Mars Oph Sgr Cap Cap Aqr Psc Ari Tau Tau Gem Gem Gem
Jupiter Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph
Saturn Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo
Uranus Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu
Neptune Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap

Eclipses for 2007

March 19 - partial solar eclipse (see map, times, and animation!): The first solar eclipse of 2007 occurs at the Moon's ascending node in Pisces and is visible from eastern Asia and parts of northern Alaska

September 11 - partial solar eclipse (see map, times, and animation): The last eclipse of 2007 is a partial solar eclipse at the Moon's descending node in southern Leo. Its visibility is confined to parts of South America, Antarctica and the South Atlantic

March 3-4 - total lunar eclipse (see map): The beginning of the umbral phase visible in the Arctic region, Africa, Europe, Asia except for extreme eastern region, most of Indonesia, western Australia, Queen Maud Land of Antarctica, extreme eastern South America, Greenland, the Indian Ocean, the South Atlantic Ocean, and the eastern North Atlantic Ocean; the end visible in Africa, Europe, western Asia, Queen Maud Land of Antarctica and Antarctic Peninsula, South America, eastern North America, Greenland, the Arctic region, the Atlantic Ocean, the western Indian Ocean, and the extreme eastern South Pacific Ocean.

August 28 - total lunar eclipse (see map): The beginning of the umbral phase visible in North America, South America except extreme east, Antarctica except for Enderby Land, New Zealand, eastern Australia, extreme northeastern Asia, the Pacific Ocean, and the western Atlantic Ocean; the end visible in New Zealand, Australia, most of Antarctica except Queen Maud Land, Indonesia, eastern Asia, western North America, the Pacific Ocean, and the southeastern Indian Ocean.

Eclipse information from: NASA Eclipse Homepage, Eclipses Online (HM Nautical Almanac Office, UK in coordination with the U.S. Naval Observatory)

Meteor Showers for 2007

As luck would have it, all the major meteor showers reach their peaks in 2007 with the Moon out of the sky. Any of these showers can produce dozens of shooting stars each dark hour leading up to dawn.

Mark your calendar to look for...
  • Perseids on August 13th
  • Orionids on October 21st
  • Leonids on November 18th
  • Geminids on the night of December 13-14 (Meteor enthusiasts are keenly awaiting the Geminids in 2007 because their progenitor, the defunct comet Phaethon, precedes them in a flyby of Earth on December 10th.)

Comets for October

Gary Kronk's comet and meteor pages
Skyhound Comet pages

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Music Scottish Guitar Quartet -"Romance within you"

Direct download: AAGG_sky_tour_Oct_07.mp3
Category:Sky Tours -- posted at: 10:27 AM