October Astronomy

The Crescent Moon passes Venus, then the star Antares in the evening twilight of the 8th and 9th.

The Crescent Moon passes Venus, then the star Antares in the evening twilight of the 8th and 9th.

September 30, 2021| Categories: Mark Breen, Planetarium News, Skywatch Almanac Astronomy

As the shorter days give way to longer nights, the Milky Way arches from near the Teapot of Sagittarius, hosting Jupiter and Saturn in the south-southwest, through the Summer Triangle high in the southwest, then into the northeast to greet the rising star Capella.  Summer’s bright star Arcturus sets in the west.  Mars, meanwhile, is stunning all month, reaching its maximum brightness for the year.  The early mornings also feature planets, with Mars heading into the west, while Venus climbs into the east, meeting the star Regulus, the “heart” of Leo, the Lion, to open the month on the 2nd and 3rd, between 5 and 6 AM, just before twilight.

Keep up on the latest happenings in your night sky with the Eye on the Night Sky!

What to watch:

  • October 7 – Draconids Meteor Shower. The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other showers. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the the night of the 7th. This year, the nearly new moon will leave dark skies for what should be an excellent show. Best viewing will be in the early evening from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • 14 – The waxing Gibbous Moon makes a triangle with the brilliant Jupiter to its upper left, and the not-as-brilliant Saturn to the upper right.
  • 16 – The evening twilight hosts the brilliant Venus above the red star Antarres, 150 times fainter.  This meeting takes place every eight years.
  • 21 – The Full Hunter’s Moon crosses the southern skies, its light obscuring the Orionid Meteor Shower, associated with Halley’s Comet.


Tags: astronomy, Fairbanks Museum, Mark Breen Skywatch