Archive for October, 2007

A special treat for Halloween viewing!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

This was just sent to me by a friend… More details forthcoming.

When Comet 17P/Holmes burst on the scene last week “brightening by a factor of a million in just 2 days” no one knew for sure how long it would last. The good news: The comet continues to put on a nice show for Northern Hemisphere observers the whole night.

Comet 17P Holmes, now visible to northern hemisphere residents, increased its brightness by a factor of one million this week, going from magnitude 17 to 2. This makes it visible to the unaided eye as well as binoculars and telescopes, offering a unique viewing opportunity for sky watchers. “This is a terrific outburst,” said Brian Marsden, director emeritus of the Minor Planet Center, which tracks known comets and asteroids. Washington, Oct 26 : The Comet 17P Holmes has increased its brightness by a factor of one million, new observations by astronomers at the Minor Planet Center, which tracks comets and asteroids, has revealed. This makes it visible to the unaided eye, as well as to binoculars and telescopes in the northern hemisphere area

The comet lies about 30° high “one-third of the way from the horizon to straight overhead” at 9 p.m. local daylight time. It then appears about twice as high as the bright star Capella. For observers at mid-northern latitudes, the comet climbs directly overhead between 2 and 3 a.m. Even better, the waning gibbous Moon doesn’t rise until around 11 p.m. Halloween night, and it comes up about an hour later (with less of it lit) each succeeding night.

Comet Holmes was discovered in 1892 by Edwin Holmes when it brightened enough to become faintly visible with the naked eye, it was also seen in 1893, 1899 and 1906, but then it was not spotted again until 1964. Comet Holmes can now be seen in the constellation of Perseus. And according to Space Weather, a gaseous cloud is racing from the core of the comet almost doubling night after night and has now become a naked eye disk instead of a dimensionless point of light.

October 2007

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Lunar Events

The New moon for October occurs on Wednesday October 10th, 2007.  This will make the Weekends on October 6-7 and October 13-14 as the best night for dark sky viewing.

The Full Moon October occurs on October 25th, 2007 and is the Hunter’s Moon (Since the Harvest Moon occurred in September.

Moon, Mars and M35

On October 2nd the moon will be in close proximity from the Open

Cluster M35 and the planet Mars.  The Moon will pass about 4°35’

from Mars with M35 in between about 3°15’ from the Moon.

Moon, M44, Venus, Saturn and Regulus On October 5th around 3:15am The Moon will pass within 1° of the Beehive Cluster, also known as M44.
On October 7th around 4:00am The Moon will rise in quadruple conjunction between The star Regulus and the planets Venus and Saturn. By 7:00am the moon will pass with 1°15’ of Saturn. Moon, Venus, Saturn and Regulus

On October 12th the Moon will pass within 2° of the planet Mercury in the evening after sunset.

Moon, Jupiter and Mercury

On October 15th around 8:30pm, the Moon will set about 6° away

from the planet Jupiter.

Moon, Pleiades M45

On October 27th at 7:30pm, the moon will rise about 2°10’ from the

open cluster Pleiades, also known as ‘The Seven Sisters’ or M45.

On the same night the moon will actually occult Pleiades, but this will

only be visible from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia.


Mercury is located in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) for the entire month of October and is visible as the evening star until about October 18th, when it will disappear into the glare of the Sun.  It will re-appear in the Morning, around October 29th.

Moon Mercury

On October 12th, Mercury starts a retrograde motion and, on the same

day, pass within 2° of a day-and-a-half old crescent moon.


The planet Venus is the Morning Star all month and is located in the constellation Leo (The Lion) in October.

V2enus, Regulus and Saturn

On October 9th, Venus will pass with 3° of the star Regulus and by

October 11th Venus will be in a triple conjunction with the star

Regulus and the Planet Saturn.  On October 14th Venus will pass

within 3° of Saturn.

Venus at Opposition Venus will reach its Greatest Western Elongation on October 28th, 2007 and will be 46°27’59” away from the Sun on that date.  Venus will rise over 3 hours before the Sun.


The planet Mars is located in the constellation Gemini (The Twins) until December 30th, 2007. Mars is visible late evening until sunrise all month.

On the first of October Mars rises around 11:15pm and by sunrise can be located near the Zenith. By the end of the month Mars rises around 10:00pm.  Views of Mars are spectacular and will continue to improve as it approaches Opposition on Christmas Eve 2007.

Mars M35

On October 3rd, Mars will come within 1° of the open cluster M35.

Moon and Mars On October 30th Mars will set within 2°30’ of the Waning Gibbous Moon.


You can locate the planet Jupiter in the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer) until December 2nd, 2007. In October Jupiter is visible in the evening hours setting around 10:00 pm at the beginning of October and setting around 8:00pm at the end of October.

Jupiter and Pluto

The position of Jupiter and Pluto during the month of October.


The planet Saturn can be found in the constellation Leo (The Lion) until the year 2009.  Saturn is visible in the morning hours all month, rising around 4:10am near the beginning of the month and around 2:30am by the end of October.

Vnus Saturn Regulus

On October 11th, Saturn can be found in triple conjunction with the

planet Venus and the star Regulus

Venus, Regulus and SaturnOn October 14th, Saturn will come within 3° of the planet Venus.


Uranus is visible for most of the night all month.  Uranus sets around 5am at the beginning of October and by the end of October it can be found setting at 3:00am.  Uranus is located in the constellation Aquarius (The Water Bearer) until the year 2009.

Neptune and Uranus

Position of Neptune and Uranus during October.


Neptune is observable until the very early morning hours in October. Located in the constellation Capricornus (The Sea Goat) until the year 2010, Neptune sets around 3am at the first of October and sets about 2 hours earlier by the end of the month (1:00am).

On October 20th at 9:30pm, Neptune passes within 1°50’ on the Waxing, Gibbous Moon. Moon and Neptune


The former-planet-known-as-Pluto is located in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) until the year 2023. Pluto can be observed in the evening hours before 11:00pm at the beginning of the month and until 9:00pm by the end of the month.

Pluto and Jupiter

The position of Jupiter and Pluto during the month of October.

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