We cannot look away. Long-lasting, ever fluctuating Nova Cassiopeiae 2021 was lastly right down to about magnitude 8.2 as of October 14th. That’s nonetheless barely fainter than when it exploded final March. Charts and comparability stars.
The gibbous Moon lingers with Jupiter on Friday night the 15th, earlier than shifting ever eastward to show full on the 20th below the Great Square of Pegasus.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15
■ Bright Jupiter and fainter Saturn proceed to dominate the southern night sky from dim Capricornus, as proven above. They stay 15° aside; each are almost stationary at the west finish of their retrograde loops.
■ Spot Venus low within the west in twilight. Just decrease left of it, by 1½° (about a finger width at arm’s size), search for orange Antares. It’s lower than 1% as brilliant. Venus stays about this near Antares for the following two days, however watch their orientation change.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16
■ It’s International Observe the Moon Night, with greater than 1,860 occasions worldwide inviting you to indicate up. Or put by yourself occasion and add it to the map! All it’s essential to host a Moon-observing occasion is a telescope, a place to place it, and a readiness to welcome guests for a look.The Moon is waxing gibbous. Its terminator crosses Oceanus Procellarum, which reveals off the dramatic crater Copernicus and numerous different options.To the bare eye, the Moon types a roughly equilateral triangle with brilliant Jupiter to its proper or higher proper and Fomalhaut to the Moon’s decrease proper. Cloudy the place you might be? Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project plans a narrated dwell feed of the Moon from Rome, beginning at 17:30 UT (3:30 p.m. EDT).
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17
■ This is the time of yr when, in early night, W-formed Cassiopeia stands on finish excessive within the north-northeast — and when, off to its decrease left within the north, the dim Little Dipper extends leftward from Polaris.Below or decrease proper of Cassiopeia is star-scattered Perseus. Look decrease left from Perseus, or far beneath Cas, for brilliant (zero-magnitude), twinkly Capella.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 18
■ Vega is the brightest star very excessive west of the zenith after darkish. Less excessive within the south-southwest is Altair, not fairly as brilliant. Still close to the zenith is the third and least brilliant star of the Summer Triangle, Deneb.Look decrease left from Altair by three or 4 fists at arm’s size, and also you hit cannot-miss-it Jupiter. Extend the road two fists farther on down, and also you hit Fomalhaut.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19
■ Look two fists left of the intense Moon this night for the brightest stars of Aries not far aside. Through the moonlight, are you able to see considered one of them, or two, or three? Hamal is magnitude 2.0. Sheratan to its proper or higher proper is is magazine 2.6. Mesarthim, nearer to the decrease proper of Sheratan, is more difficult at magazine 3.9.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20
■ Full Moon (actual at 10:57 a.m. EDT). The Moon rises within the east about 20 minutes after sundown (for the mid-latitudes of North America). Right after darkish, look three fists above the Moon for Alpheratz, the 2nd-magnitude head of Andromeda and the leftmost nook of the Great Square of Pegasus.
■ It’s a busy night at Jupiter. At 8:41 p.m. EDT the tiny black shadow of Io begins crossing Jupiter’s face, coming into on the east limb, adopted by Io itself about an hour later. The shadow leaves Jupiter’s western limb at 10:58 p.m. EDT, adopted by Io an hour after that.
Meanwhile, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot ought to transit the planet’s central meridian round 10:37 p.m. EDT. Features on Jupiter stay nearer to the central meridian than the limb for 50 minutes earlier than and after they transit.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21
■ Once the Moon is properly up within the east tonight, look left of it by about a fist and a half for the little Pleiades cluster. Can you select this sparkle-patch via the moonlight? Binoculars make it straightforward.Look a little greater than a fist beneath the Pleiades for orange Aldebaran on the rise.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22
■ The waning gibbous Moon shines within the east after darkish this night. You might have binoculars to pick the Pleiades few levels to its left or higher left, as proven beneath. Much simpler is brilliant Capella many instances farther left of the Moon.As night time advances, Aldebaran comes up beneath or decrease left of the Moon. And by midnight, Orion is clearing the jap horizon far beneath all of them.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23
■ Tonight the waning Moon shines close to Aldebaran, as proven beneath.
In October yearly, the Moon commits its passage via Taurus when its waning gibbous.
■ This is the time of yr when the Big Dipper lies down horizontal low within the north-northwest after darkish. How low? The farther south you might be, the decrease. Seen from 40° north (New York, Denver, Madrid) even its backside stars twinkle almost ten levels excessive. But at Miami (26° N) your entire Dipper skims alongside out of sight slightly below the northern horizon.
This Week’s Planet Roundup
Mercury is heading towards its finest morning apparition of the yr. By about October 18th, search for it low above the east horizon about 50 minutes earlier than dawn. On that morning it is nonetheless solely magnitude +0.7, so you might have considered trying binoculars.
But it is brightening and getting a little increased daily. Just 4 days later, on Friday morning the 22nd, Mercury is greater than twice as brilliant at magnitude –0.2. Next week it would almost double in brightness once more.
Don’t confuse Mercury with Arcturus, which is above the east-northeast horizon (relying in your latitude) off to Mercury’s left.
Mars stays out of sight behind the glare of the Sun.
Venus, sensible at magnitude –4.4, shines in southwest throughout twilight, crossing from Scorpius into the ft of Ophiuchus. It units about a half hour after twilight’s finish.On Saturday the 16th Venus is passing 1.4° north (higher proper) of Antares, which is way fainter, orange, and twinkling. Even night thereafter, Antares falls away farther to Venus’s decrease proper. By the 22nd they’re a good 6° aside.
Jupiter and Saturn proceed to shine within the south throughout night, 15° aside on reverse sides of Capricornus. Jupiter is the attention-grabber at magnitude –2.6. Saturn, to its proper or decrease proper, is a twentieth as brilliant at magazine +0.6. In twilight they shine equally excessive. As the night progresses watch them tilt as they transfer to the best, with Saturn changing into the decrease one. Saturn units round midnight or 1 a.m. daylight-saving time, adopted by Jupiter about an hour later.After darkish look 23° (two fists at arm’s size) decrease left of Jupiter for 1st-magnitude Fomalhaut, as proven at the highest of this web page.
Here’s a newbie’s telescopic information to Jupiter.
Jupiter on October sixth, imaged by S&T’s Sean Walker with a 12-inch reflector in New Hampshire. North is up. “We were treated to some excellent seeing conditions.” he writes. “I spent hours shooting and observing the planet, watching the GRS transit, as well as the dark barges in the NEB, and the series of white ovals south of the SEB. It was a magical night of observing — I was seeing the first diffraction ring around Io and Europa; don’t think I can ever recall seeing that before. Wish I could have shared it with others.”
Uranus (magnitude 5.7, in southern Aries) climbs excessive within the east by 10 p.m.
Neptune (magnitude 7.8, at the Aquarius-Pisces border) is already properly up within the within the southeast at twilight’s finish.
All descriptions that relate to your horizon — together with the phrases up, down, proper, and left — are written for the world’s mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that additionally rely on longitude (primarily Moon positions) are for North America.
Eastern Daylight Time, EDT, is Universal Time minus Four hours. Universal Time is also called UT, UTC, GMT, or Z time. To develop into extra professional about time techniques than 99% of the individuals you may ever meet, see our compact article Time and the Amateur Astronomer.
Want to develop into a higher astronomer? Learn your method across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding every little thing fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.
This is an outside nature interest. For a straightforward-to-use constellation information protecting the entire night sky, use the large month-to-month map within the middle of every situation of Sky & Telescope, the important journal of astronomy.
Once you get a telescope, to place it to good use you may want a detailed, massive-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The primary commonplace is the Pocket Sky Atlas (in both the unique or Jumbo Edition), which reveals stars to magnitude 7.6.
The Pocket Sky Atlas plots 30,796 stars to magnitude 7.6, and a whole lot of telescopic galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae amongst them. Shown right here is the Jumbo Edition, which is in laborious covers and enlarged for simpler studying open air by crimson flashlight. Sample charts. More in regards to the present editions.
Next up is the bigger and deeper Sky Atlas 2000.0, plotting stars to magnitude 8.5; almost thrice as many. The subsequent up, as soon as you already know your method round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) or Uranometria 2000.0 (stars to magnitude 9.75). And you should definitely learn How to Use a Star Chart with a Telescope.
You’ll additionally need a good deep-sky guidebook, reminiscent of the large Night Sky Observer’s Guide by Kepple and Sanner.
Can a computerized telescope change charts? Not for inexperienced persons, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which might be lower than high-high quality mechanically, that means heavy and costly. And as Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer say of their Backyard Astronomer’s Guide, “A full appreciation of the universe cannot come without developing the skills to find things in the sky and understanding how the sky works. This knowledge comes only by spending time under the stars with star maps in hand.”
Audio sky tour. Out below the night sky with yourearbuds in place, hearken to Kelly Beatty’s monthlypodcast tour of the heavens above. It’s free.
“The dangers of not thinking clearly are much greater now than ever before. It’s not that there’s something new in our way of thinking, it’s that credulous and confused thinking can be much more lethal in ways it was never before.” — Carl Sagan, 1996
“Facts are stubborn things.” — John Adams, 1770