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Thursday, October 11, 2012

October sky highlights (sounds like a movie review but its not)

I'm a bit late this month's stargazing guide as I've just come back off holiday.
Weather's been quite bad lately as we're entering the rainy season. If the sky clears up the Moon makes an appearance in the early evening during the last two weeks of the month.

Friday 19th October sees the Crescent Moon close to Mars and the constellation Scorpius. At the same time the red planet Mars will be close to its twin, the bright red star Antares.
Red in colour, it would be nice to see these two bright objects below the moon like a pair of eyes, however there'll be quite low to the ground so good clear skies are needed. 8pm is probably the best time to spot them, I'll try to have a camera ready.

Finally, as the bright planets Mars and Saturn disappear from view, faint planets Uranus and Neptune slowly rise in the east. Almost impossible to spot with the naked eye in our light polluted sky. We'll be aiming our telescopes in their direction every Friday over the next few months hoping to catch a glimpse.

As mentioned previously, Uranus and Neptune are incredibly tiny but quite nice and blue. I always feel a great sense of achievement every time I find them, especially without the aid of computerised GO-TO telescopes. A nice challenge, can't wait!

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