The Autumn Sky is now in full swing, but you’ll still catch the summer stars setting in the west after sunset.
Here are your moon phases for October 2019.
Draconid Meteor Shower – October 8
The Draconids are usually a weak shower, but since the radial point is visible in the early evening, this is one you don’t need to stay up late for. However, a waxing gibbous moon will wash out most of the usually weak shower. While the shower has had storms as recent as 2011 and 2018, there is no outburst or storm expected for this show – but experts have been wrong before!
Orionid Meteor Shower – October 22-23
This meteor shower is more famous because the particles come from left over debris from Halley’s Comet. That means every meteor you see that night is a piece of dust or pebble from Halley’s Comet! This is also going to be a moderate shower, which is cool except… the last quarter/ waning crescent moon means the moon will be prominent in the sky during peak hours, so many of them will get washed out.
Uranus Opposition – October 26-27
Earth will reach its closest to Uranus for the year on October 26-27, and thus it will be the best time to check it out. It’ll be best viewed around midnight, and you’ll see it between Pisces, Aries, and Cetus. If your eyes are sharp enough and are located in a dark location, you may spot it with the naked eye. Grab your telescope, and check out the distinct cyan color it shows. You’ll need to view it at pretty high magnification to start seeing it as a disc.
Mercury – it gets its furthest from the Sun in mid October, but the shallow angle of the position means it will be hard to spot in the western sky around sunset.
Venus – it will gradually move away from the Sun in the western sky after Sunset, first being in front of Virgo and then in front of Libra by the month’s end. But just like Mercury, the shallow angle will keep it a low object over the horizon once the Sun has set.
Mars – Located in Virgo – It was in close conjunction with the Sun in September, and throughout October, the Sun will move east away from Mars. Thus Mars will begin to be an early morning target before sunrise low in the southeastern sky.
Jupiter – Located in Scorpius – It will still be a bright target low in the southwest early in the evening, but by the end of October it will start setting around 8pm.
Saturn – Located in Sagittarius – just like Jupiter, its prominence is coming to a close. It’ll be visible low in the southwestern sky, and by the months end, will start setting around 10 pm.
Uranus – Located in Aries = As this is opposition month, this is the month to check it out, it will be at its biggest and brightest for the year. On Opposition night, it will be located about 4° north above ξ Cet (Xi Ceti).
Neptune – Located in Aquarius – Opposition was in September, thus both September and October will be among the best months to check it out at night. It’s highest in the sky around 9-10 pm each night for October, and you’ll find it no more than 1.5° west of φ Aqr (Phi Aquarii).