By Heather Durham | September 30, 2019
This month offers an almost nightly schedule of celestial events, the majority of which are viewable with the naked eye. There is quite a plethora to view. As well, we will enjoy the full Hunter’s Moon (the first Moon after the Harvest Moon). Happy birthday to NASA!
Meteor showers take their names from the constellation or comet in the portion of the sky in which they appear. For instance, the Draconids appear near the constellation Draco, the Perseids appear near the constellation Perseus, the Taurids appear near the constellation Taurus, etc.
Happy birthday NASA…..which turns 61 today!
The Moon is at its closest to the Sun today as well (Space.com, 2019; Seasky.org, 2019).
There will be a Change of Command ceremony at the International Space Station. Luca Parmitano from the European Space Agency will replace Russian Cosmonaut Alexsey Ovchinin.
M31 (the Andromeda galaxy) may be viewed with binoculars. (It is also known as NGC 224).
There will be conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter, when the waxing crescent Moon will pass by less than 2 degrees to the north of Jupiter in the evening sky.
The planet Mercury, will be at its furthest point from the sun. Around 18:39 EDT, from Milton, they both should be visible.
There will be a conjunction of the Moon and Saturn, during which time the Moon will pass less than a degree to the south of Saturn. The two of them may be visible in the evening sky.
NGC 300, which is a spiral galaxy in the Sculptor constellation, is located where it can be observed above our southern horizon.
Today, the October Camelopardalid meteor shower reaches its peak.
Draconids Meteor Shower. This minor shower that produces about 10 meteors per hour will peak this year on October 8. Viewing will be the best in the evening or most likely around midnight as it follows the setting of the first quarter Moon which will set by then. These meteors will appear anywhere in the sky. From Milton, the shower will display directly above the horizon and will be active throughout the night.
A bright Mercury will be well placed in the evening sky.
The Moon reaches its furthest place from the Sun.
The peak of the Southern Taurid meteor shower occurs on this date. From Milton, however, it won’t be visible before 18:56 pm EDT each night. Look towards the eastern horizon.
M33 from the Triangulum Galaxy is viewable. (It is also known as NGC 598).
Mercury will be shining bright.
Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. This planet reaches elongation of 24.6 degrees from the sun and can be viewed low in the western sky just after sunset (Seasky.org, 2019).
Orionids Meteor Shower. This shower, an average one, can display up to 20 meteors per hour when at its peak. These dust grains from Halley’s comet will peak on the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd. The Orionids tend to be bright even though the second quarter Moon will block some of the ones furthest away. View from a dark sky just after midnight. The best and brightest displays will occur near 05:00 AM EDT..
The peak of the Leonids meteor shower occurs on this date. The best display is said to be just before dawn.
There will be a conjunction of Mars and the Moon.
The western half of NGC 869 in the constellation Perseus may be viewable around midnight in or near Milton.
Uranus at Opposition. At times between 19:35 and 5:16, it should become visible from Milton.
There will be a conjunction of the Moon and Mercury, as well as one of the Moon and Venus.
The face of this blue-green planet will be fully lit by the sun. It should be visible all night long but is best viewed by telescope.
There will be a conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter. Look to see the Moon go by approximately one degree north of Jupiter in the evening sky.
Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – September 2019; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – November 2019
In-the-sky.org. (2019, September). Guides to the Night Sky. Retrieved from https://in-the-sky.org/search.php
Seasky.org. (2019, September). Astronomy Reference Guide. Retrieved from http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy.html
Space.com. (2019, September). Space Launch Calendar 2019: Sky Events, Missions & More. Retrieved from https://www.space.com/32286-space-calendar.html
Wikipedia. (2019, September 22). Alexsey Ovchinin. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksey_Ovchinin
Wikipedia. (2019, September 25). Andromeda Galaxy. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy
Wikipedia. (2019, September 17). Conjunction (Astronomy). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_(astronomy)
Wikipedia. (2019, September 19).Draconids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draconids
Wikipedia. (2019, September 22). Leonids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonids
Wikipedia. (2019, September 22). Luca Parmitano. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luca_Parmitano
Wikipedia. (2019, September 21). Messier Object. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_object
Wikipedia. (2019, May 28). New General Catalogue. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_General_Catalogue
Wikipedia. (2019, August 14). NGC 300. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_300
Wikipedia. (2018, August 16). NGC 869. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_869
Wikipedia. (2019, June 9). Opposition (Astronomy). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_(astronomy)
Wikipedia. (2019,September 30). Orionids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orionids
Wikipeida. (2019, September 24). Perseids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids
Wikipedia. (2019, September 26). Sculptor (Constellation). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sculptor_(constellation)
Wikipedia. (2019, September 28). Taurids. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurids
Wikipedia. (2019, September 23). Triangulum Galaxy. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangulum_Galaxy