October: Three Planets at Dusk

This month’s Sky Tour astronomy podcast guides to attention-grabbing websites within the starry sky — from Astronomy Day to Halloween . . . and far more.

October ninth is Astronomy Day, a worldwide celebration of all of the great sights that may be discovered within the evening sky. (Check our event calendar and club listings to see if there’s a stargazing alternative close to you.)

Now it seems that the night sky has one thing particular to supply on October ninth. Look low within the west, starting about half-hour after sundown, and there you’ll behold a wonderful crescent Moon, simply 4 days previous new. Look intently at the Moon, and also you may see “earthshine,” a ghostly glow on the a part of the lunar disk that’s not lit by daylight.

Moon-Venus Oct 9-10 2021
The crescent Moon pairs fantastically with dazzling Venus throughout October.
Sky & Telescope

October ninth’s crescent Moon is fantastically paired with the good planet Venus. The two are separated by 3° or much less, relying on the place you reside. But don’t wait too lengthy to catch this beautiful couple, as a result of Venus isn’t very excessive up as twilight dims, and it units about 2 hours after sundown.

After gazing at Venus low within the west, make a beneficiant flip to the left. You’ll rapidly decide up the intense beacon of Jupiter over the southern horizon. Jupiter isn’t any match for the brilliance of Venus, however it is brighter than any star within the nighttime sky. After all, it’s the most important planet in our solar system, and it’s coated with vivid clouds that replicate a variety of daylight again in our route. To Jupiter’s decrease proper, by a bit greater than the width of your clenched fist at arm’s size, is Saturn, the opposite gas large in our planet household.

Now swing your gaze upward to overhead. You ought to see the three extensively spaced stars of the Summer Triangle. The nook of the triangle farthest west, nearest the route of sundown, is marked by Vega.Farther east and nearer to Polaris is the star Deneb. The triangle’s third star is Altair, the pinnacle of a celestial eagle that’s winging towards the Swan. The appropriate pronunciation for this constellation may shock you — take heed to the podcast so you may get it proper!

Guide to the Summer Triangle
Each of the intense stars at the corners of the Summer Triangle lies in a distinct constellation.
Sky & Telescope

At month’s finish, in fact, is Halloween. When trick-or-treaters invade your neighborhood, arrange a telescope so that each one these little goblins and their dad and mom can take a fast peek via the eyepiece. Start with Jupiter, then swing over to view Saturn and its well-known rings. Then look overhead and level out the Summer Triangle.

And in fact you’ll want to inform them about this month’s Sky Tour podcast! It’s excellent for anybody who desires a enjoyable and informative guided tour of the celestial sights which are overhead throughout October.

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