What are some skywatching highlights in October 2020? Not one, however, two, full Moons; Mars at opposition; and discovering the Andromeda galaxy.


October is bringing a Harvest Moon AND a Blue Moon, plus search for Mars any time of the evening, and go intergalactic with Andromeda!

This month brings not only one, however, two full Moons, originally, and on the finish of the month. The Harvest Moon – the one which peaked on October 1 – is the identity for the complete Moon that happens closest to the September equinox. (One in every of two days per 12 months when day and evening are of equal size.) Most years the Harvest Moon falls in September, however every few years it shifts over to October. The identify traces again to each Native American and European traditions associated, not surprisingly, to reap time.

On the finish of October, on the 31st, we’ll get pleasure from a second full Moon. When there are two full Moons in a month, the second is commonly known as a Bue Moon. (There’s one other, the extra conventional definition of a Blue Moon, however, that is essentially the most well-known.) Observe that that is the one two-full-moon month in 2020!

— Extra about Mars Opposition —

Throughout opposition, Mars and the Solar are on immediately reverse sides of Earth. From our perspective on our spinning world, Mars rises within the east simply because of the Solar units within the west. Then, after staying up within the sky all evening, Mars units within the west simply because the Solar rises within the east. Since Mars and the Solar seem on reverse sides of the sky, we are saying that Mars is in “opposition.”

Oppositions of Mars occur every 26 months. The racetrack mannequin of planetary orbits explains why. Earth and Mars are like runners on a observe. Earth is on the within, Mars is on the skin. Every 26 months, speedy Earth catches as much as slower Mars and laps it. Opposition happens simply as Earth takes the lead.

If Earth and Mars adopted completely round orbits, the opposition can be as shut as the 2 planets may get. However as a result of planetary orbits are elliptical, not all oppositions are identical. An opposition can happen wherever alongside Mars’ orbit. Every 15 or 17 years, opposition happens inside a couple of weeks of Mars’ perihelion (the purpose in its orbit when it’s closest to the Solar). This 12 months, Mars opposition happens on October 13, 2020.

— Extra in regards to the Andromeda Galaxy —

At roughly 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda galaxy, or M31, is our Milky Method’s largest galactic neighbor. All the galaxy spans 260,000 light-years throughout. Andromeda is a spiral galaxy like our personal Milky Method, however a bit bigger. The sunshine coming into your eye while you observe Andromeda left that galaxy 2.5 million years in the past when early hominids have been simply starting to stroll upright right here on Earth.

Most of Andromeda’s mild comes from its brilliant central core, which is densely full of brilliant stars. Thus it seems like a faint, fuzzy patch on the sky with a considerably brighter spot close to the middle. As a result of it’s considerably faint, binoculars or a telescope are advisable, and it’s finest seen on nights without a brilliant Moon.

Day by day Information

October 2-3

On the mornings of Friday and Saturday, October 2 and three, 2020, the intense planet Venus and the intense star Regulus will seem at their closest within the Japanese sky, rising within the east-northeast around 3:50 a.m. EDT (for the Washington, DC space) and showing about 26 levels above the Japanese horizon on the time morning twilight begins (at round 6:08 AM).

On Friday night into Saturday morning, October 2 to three, 2020, the planet Mars will seem close to the complete Moon. For the Washington, D.C. space, they’ll seem about 2 levels above the horizon within the east as night twilight ends on Friday night at 7:46 p.m. EDT (with Mars on the left), they’ll seem close to their closest to one another a little bit earlier than midnight (with Mars above the Moon), the Moon will attain its highest within the sky for the evening on Saturday morning at 1:59 a.m. (with Mars to the higher proper), and they’re going to seem about 25 levels above the horizon within the west-southwest as morning twilight begins at 6:09 AM. In the event you occur to be within the South Atlantic or within the southern tip of South America, the Moon will cross in entrance of Mars.

Saturday, October 3, 2020, at 1:23 p.m. EDT, the Moon shall be at apogee, its farthest from the Earth for this orbit.

October 6-7

On Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, October 6 to 7, 2020, the intense star Aldebaran will seem to the decrease proper of the waning gibbous Moon. For the Washington, DC space, Aldebaran will rise after the Moon within the east-northeast at 9:42 p.m. EDT, the Moon will attain its highest within the sky for the evening on Wednesday morning at 4:55 AM, and morning twilight will start round 6:13 AM.

October 8

On Thursday morning, October 8, 2020, at around 7:16 a.m. EDT (2020-Oct-08 11:16 UTC with 13 minutes uncertainty), Close to Earth Object (2020 SX3), between 38 and 86 meters (126 to 282 ft) throughout, will cross the Earth at 4.Four lunar distances touring at 10.88 kilometers per second (24,340 miles per hour).

October 9-10

On Friday night, October 9, 2020, the waning Moon will seem half-full because it reaches its final quarter at 8:40 p.m. EDT.

Late Friday evening into Saturday morning, October 9 to 10, 2020, the intense star Pollux (one of many twins within the constellation Gemini) will seem to the left of the waning half-moon. For the Washington, DC space, the pair will rise within the east-northeast Friday evening at about 11:52 p.m. EDT and morning twilight will start Saturday morning at 6:15 AM.

October 12

On Tuesday morning, October 13, 2020, the intense star Regulus will seem about 6 levels to the precise of the waning crescent Moon. For the Washington, DC space, the Moon will rise within the east-northeast at 3:09 a.m. EDT and morning twilight will start round 6:18 AM.

On Tuesday night, October 13, 2020, the planet Mars shall be at its brightest and closest to Earth for this apparition, showing reverse the Solar as seen from Earth (known as opposition, successfully a “full” Mars).

October 14

On Wednesday morning, October 14, 2020, the intense planet Venus will seem to the higher proper of the waning crescent Moon. For the Washington, DC space, the Moon will rise within the east-northeast at 4:22 a.m. EDT and morning twilight will start round 6:19 AM.

October 16

Friday afternoon, October 16, 2020, at 3:31 p.m. EDT, would be the new Moon, when the Moon will cross between Earth and the Solar and won’t be seen from Earth. About Four hours later, at 7:47 p.m. EDT, the Moon shall be at perigee, its closest to Earth for this orbit. Since this new Moon is close to perigee, it’s a “Supermoon” as designated by the astrologer Richard Nolle, who’s credited with introducing the time period. Nevertheless, many of the public curiosity is in full Supermoons we will see, not in new Supermoons, we can’t see.

October 17-20

The day of, or the day after, the New Moon usually marks the beginning of the brand new month for many lunar and lunisolar calendars. The ninth month of the Chinese language calendar begins on October 17 (at midnight in China’s time zone, which is 12 hours forward of EDT). Within the Islamic calendar, the months historically begin with the primary sighting of the waxing crescent Moon after the New Moon, though many Muslim communities now comply with the Umm al-Qura Calendar of Saudi Arabia, which makes use of astronomical calculations to begin months in an extra predictable method. Utilizing this calendar Rabī’ al-Awwal (the third month of the 12 months) will start at sundown on Saturday, October 17, 2020. Most Muslims have fun the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad throughout this month though Sunni and Shi’a Muslims disagree on the precise date. Sunset on October 18, 2020, additionally marks the beginning of Marcheshvan within the Hebrew calendar. Within the Burmese lunar calendar October 17, 2020, marks the primary Waxing Moon day of the month of Thadingyut. The Buddhist Hpaung Daw U Competition begins on today and ends 18 days later, a couple of days previous the following full Moon (on November 3, 2020). Within the Hindu lunar calendar, October 17 marks the beginning of the month of Ashwin, which begins with the 9-day post-monsoon harvest pageant known as Sharada Navaratri.

If (and it’s a huge if) the Comet C/2020 P1 (NEOWISE) goes to be seen within the predawn sky, the morning of Sunday, October 18, 2020, is perhaps the most effective time to search for it. This would be the first morning that it will likely be (barely) above the horizon within the east as morning twilight begins (at 6:23 a.m. EDT for the Washington, DC space). This comet shall be transferring nearer to the Solar, which suggests it will likely be getting brighter because it will get extra daylight to replicate in the direction of Earth, whereas it would even be transferring away from Earth (making it dimmer). Based mostly simply on geometry (sq. of the gap from the Solar to the comet occasions the sq. of the gap from the comet to Earth), it will be at its brightest the morning earlier than (however won’t rise till about 11 minutes after morning twilight begins). It will nonetheless be at 99 % of this brightness when it rises on October 18. By October 19 it will likely be 1.9 levels larger within the sky however can be at 96 % of this most brightness. By October 20 it will likely be one other 1.7 levels larger however at 91 % of this most. The brightness would drop off quicker every morning after this because it strikes away from each the Solar and Earth (however will get larger within the morning sky).

On Monday night, October 19, 2020, the intense star Antares will seem about 5 levels under the waxing crescent Moon. As night twilight ends (at 7:21 p.m. EDT for the Washington DC space), The Moon shall be about 11.5 levels above and Antares about 7 levels above the horizon within the southwest. Antares will set at 8:07 p.m. and the Moon will set within the west-southwest at 8:41 PM.

October 21

As talked about within the introduction above, the Orionid Meteor Bathe is predicted to peak early within the morning of Wednesday, October 21, 2020. The anticipated peak (beneath best situations) is about 20 seen meteors per hour. Nevertheless, in response to the Worldwide Meteor Group, the energy of this bathe has been various from 12 months to 12 months and generally has a number of peaks throughout a number of days close to the anticipated peak. As well as, there’s some proof {that a} bigger than normal peak might happen someday between 2020 and 2022. One of the best time to search for these meteors can be after midnight however earlier than the sky begins to lighten with the daybreak. Perfect situations can be clear skies with no haze or clouds, a transparent view of a big a part of the sky after midnight, and a location removed from any lights or city mild air pollution. You’ll need to be affected person (20 meteors per hour means on common a visual meteor each Three minutes or so) and provides your eyes loads of time to adapt to the darkish (it may possibly take greater than 45 minutes in your eyes to adapt totally to nighttime imaginative and prescient, so no turning on lights or your smartphone to examine the time). These of us dwelling near metropolis lights may have a lot much less of an opportunity of seeing these meteors.

October 22

On Thursday night, October 22, 2020, the practically half-full waxing Moon, the intense planet Jupiter, and the fainter planet Saturn will type a triangle within the southern sky with Jupiter to the precise and Saturn above. As night twilight ends (at 7:17 p.m. EDT for the Washington DC space), the Moon will seem 25 levels above the southern horizon. Jupiter will set first within the west-southwest at 11:12 PM, the Moon subsequent at 11:26 PM and Saturn final at 11:41 PM.

October 23

On Friday morning, October 23, 2020, the Moon will seem half-full because it reaches its first quarter at 9:23 a.m. EDT.

October 25

On Sunday, October 25, 2020, the planet Mercury shall be passing between Earth and the Solar as seen from Earth known as inferior conjunction. Mercury shall be shifting from the night sky to the morning sky and can start rising from the glow of daybreak on the Japanese horizon about 4 mornings later (relying upon viewing situations).

October 29-30

Thursday morning, October 29, 2020, would be the first morning that the planet Mercury shall be above the horizon within the east-southeast 30 minutes earlier than dawn (an approximation of when it would first be seen within the glow of daybreak).

Thursday evening, October 29, 2020, is the second of the 2 Japanese Tsukimi or “Moon-Viewing” festivals, which takes place on the 13th day of the lunar month and celebrates the viewing of the waxing gibbous Moon a couple of days earlier than it’s full.

On Thursday evening into Friday morning, October 29 to 30, 2020, the intense planet Mars will seem close to the practically full waxing Moon. As night twilight ends (at 7:09 p.m. EDT for the Washington, DC space), the Moon will seem about 17 levels above the Japanese horizon, with Mars showing above the Moon. The Moon will attain its highest within the sky for the evening around midnight with Mars to the precise. Mars will set first within the west on Friday morning at 5:54 AM, with the Moon setting at 6:27 AM, just a bit earlier than morning twilight begins.

Friday afternoon, October 30, 2020, at 2:46 p.m. EDT, the Moon shall be at apogee, its farthest from the Earth for this orbit.

Someday between Friday, October 30, 2020, and Thursday, November 5, 2020, Close to Earth Object (2018 VP1), between 2 and Four meters (6 to 13 ft) in dimension will most certainly cross the Earth someplace between 0.02 and 10.Zero lunar distances (nominally 1.1), touring at 9.71 kilometers per second (21,720 miles per hour). Nominally the closest strategy can be on November 2, 2020, at 11:33 UTC however this has Three days, 7 hours, 11 minutes uncertainty because of the lack of observations on such a small object. This object may have a 0.41% or 1 in 240 probability of coming into the Earth’s ambiance on November 2, 2020, most certainly over the Pacific Ocean if it did. An object this dimension would break up harmlessly excessive above the floor with solely small items falling as particles after the breakup. The mass of this object is estimated to be between 100 and 1,000 occasions lower than the roughly 20 m (66 ft) object that entered the Earth’s ambience over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013.

October 31 – The Subsequent Full Moon

The total Moon after subsequent will happen on the morning of Halloween, Saturday, October 31, 2020. We at the moment divide the 12 months into 4 seasons primarily based upon the solstices and equinoxes, with winter starting on the winter solstice in December. This approximates winter because of the quarter of the 12 months with the coldest temperatures. A lot of pre-Christian northern Europe celebrated “cross-quarter days” midway between the solstices and equinoxes, and divided the seasons on today. Utilizing this older definition, winter was the quarter of the 12 months with the shortest each day durations of daylight, with autumn ending and winter starting with Samhain, historically celebrated on October 31st or November 1st (the centre of our fall). Our Halloween customs are thought to have come from these earlier celebrations of the tip of fall and begin of winter.


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