DR. SKY BLOG

Mark your stargazing calendar for these upcoming October treats

Sep 21, 2022, 2:00 PM

(Unsplash Photo)...

(Unsplash Photo)

(Unsplash Photo)

As the year moves on, the skies of October will be some of the best that Arizona can offer!

With the end of the summer monsoon, we can expect some clear and cool evenings and mornings to begin our celestial journey.

The views begin with the moon, our nearest celestial neighbor in the heavens. The moon begins in the first quarter Oct. 2 and rapidly passes the planet Saturn on Oct. 5, just 4 degrees apart.

The moon then becomes gibbous and presses onward to the full hunters moon Oct. 9 at 1:55p.m. Arizona time, rising in the east at sunset.

This is not a super moon but one that will rise as a spectacular sight just the same!

Last quarter Oct. 17 and the thin waning moon returns to another new moon Oct. 25.

Best views of the passing Milky Way are to be found during the periods of Oct. 23-31.

Begin your naked eye and binocular tour by looking overhead around 8 p.m. Arizona time. This is the rich star fields of the constellation of Cygnus the Swan.

Here are some helpful ways to view this region of the Milky Way.

This will be a most memorable experience and one that you will cherish for a long time, as you peer into one of the arms of the galaxy we live in, the Milky Way.

Here are some facts about our great galaxy.

During the remainder of the month, we have some interesting planets to view, beginning with a look at Saturn, high in the southern at sunset.

Here is more about observing Saturn.

Just to the left of Saturn, Jupiter takes the honor of the brightest planet in the evening sky. Fresh out of opposition, Jupiter is a beacon in the east at sunset.

Follow Jupiter into the night here.

The sky show gets even better with Mars rising in the northeastern sky around 10 p.m. Arizona time and getting closer to Earth.

Follow Mars here.

We have a rare opportunity to view the innermost planet Mercury during the early part of October. Mercury will appear at its best on or about Oct. 8.

Simply look to the east around an hour before local sunrise to glimpse this tiny world.

Did you know that the large moon of Jupiter – Ganymede – is actually larger than the planet Mercury.

Mercury is a strange world some 36 million miles from the Sun and one that has been explored by recent spacecraft.

Learn more about Mercury.

If all this is not enough to excite your world, we have a meteor shower known as the Orionids which will peak on the morning of Oct. 21. To view this shower, look to the eastern sky after 2 a.m. as the meteors will emanate from the upper left area of Orion.

All the Orionids are from Comet Halley!

Here is more on the Orionids.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Podcasts are available here.

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Mark your stargazing calendar for these upcoming October treats