Hereford's Premier Pub Guide
www.hmpubguide.com - Hereford's Premier Pub Guide: Starry, starry night.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Starry, starry night.

During my long walks home from the pub, my mind and gaze usually wander towards the heavens. Therefore I thought others may be drawn to the night sky and contemplation of our place in the Universe. So I introduce another new monthly blog entry: it shows maps of the October 2007 northern hemisphere night sky, and other interesting things to look out for. At this time of year the Milky Way can be seen arching overhead, with the brightest section plunging down to the south and then south-west as the evening progresses. Sitting high across this faint band of light are three bright stars that form the Summer Triangle. The top-left star of the trio is Deneb, the leading star of Cygnus, the Swan. Off to its right is the brightest member, Vega, in Lyra, the Harp. Finishing off the triangle lower down is Altair, the main star of Aquila, the Eagle.

Our innermost planet is off to the right of the Sun, and too low on the horizon to be seen in the evening skies for most of the month. Day by day, it closes in on the Sun and inferior conjunction happens on the 24th. This is the moment when the planet passes between the Earth and the Sun.

You may catch a glimpse of Mercury during the last few days of the month, when it'll be close to Spica, the leading star in Virgo, the Maiden.

Venus is low in the south-east in the mornings. At a magnitude -2.5, it will be an unmistakably brilliant beacon of light.

On the 7th, Venus, Regulus (the leading star in the constellation of Leo, the Lion) and Saturn will sit in a nice triangle. On the same day, the Moon occults (moves in front of) Regulus in the brightening dawn sky, at 6.15am

On the 16th, Venus moves directly underneath Saturn too, so there's plenty going on for this planet over the month.

Mars has risen by 11pm from the north of east. It's high in the south at dawn, and easy to spot. Look for it in the constellation of Gemini, the Twins all month. At magnitude -0.1, it will look like a fairly bright red star.

On the 4th, the planet moves just below M35 a fine star cluster at the feet of the Twins so it's worth a look in binoculars or a small telescope. The Moon is to the left of the planet late evening on the 2nd and then again on the 31st.

This Jovian giant can be found low in the south-west after sunset. At the start of the month you have a couple of hours to see the planet, as it moves slowly through the constellation of Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer. At the end of September it sets more than an hour earlier.

The ringed planet is hanging in the east at dawn, in the constellation of Leo, the Lion. There are several chances to find Saturn easily: super shiny Venus is close by between the 11th and 18th, while the Moon sits off to the right on the 7th.

Meteor Showers
October is the time for the Orionids. The date to see the maximum number of 'shooting stars' is on October 21st, when, with good skies, you may see up to 25 meteors per hour. The Moon is a waxing gibbous on this night, but its light will be only a slight nuisance - it moves down towards the south-west whist the meteors appear over from the east.

Phases of the Moon

New Moon: 11th
First quarter: 19th
Full Moon: 26th
Last quarter: 3rd


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Unique hits since 22/08/2006