For October the highlights are the planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Mercury) and the Orionid meteor shower. Now we’re past the autumnal equinox, the nights are drawing in which makes for longer nights and more time for astronomy!
Jupiter and Saturn visible at the start of the month from just after sunset in the east and south east.
Mars rises later in the evening around 10:30 pm. By mid-month, Mars will be rising around 9:40 pm and growing brighter as we get closer to opposition on December 8th.
Mercury will be at its furthest western elongation from the sun on the morning of October 9th, so more easily viewable this month than normal (next elongation is in December around sunset).
On the 21st and 22nd look for the Orionid Meteor shower that peaks overnight. Interestingly this shower is produced when the earth passes through dust grains left behind by Halley’s Comet.
For galaxies this month, it is worth viewing Andromeda (M31) and its smaller companion M32 as well as the Triangulum Galaxy (M33).
Finally, look for an interesting asterism called Kemble’s Cascade which is a line of at least 20 stars in the constellation Camelopardalis. More information here: Kembles-Cascade
- 5th October: Moon appears with Saturn in the early evening.
- 8th October: Moon appears with Jupiter in the early evening.
- 9th October 2022: Mercury will be at its greatest elongation (furthest from the sun) west in the morning around 5:42 am.
- 9th October: Full Moon.
- 14th October 2022: Moon and Mars together later in the evening.
- 21st & 22nd October: Orionid Meteor Shower peaks in the morning after midnight.
- 25th October: New Moon.
For more detailed information including rise, transit and set times of planets, moon phases and other observing information see Jeff’s Observing Report