Observing the sky: Jupiter, king of the planets, rises to a luminous era

As the leaves fall, enjoy how the planets rise: At sunset now, look Jupiter – King of the Planets – ascend to the eastern sky and rule in a luminous manner. The large gaseous planet appears above the treetops around 7:30 pm and can be seen centered near the constellation Pisces.

Jupiter remains bright even after its official opposition (opposite the sun From a landperspective) on September 26. Now its strength is impressive – 2.9 degrees, according to the US Naval Observatory. By midnight in early October, look for this majestic planet towards the south. It fades a bit at the end of the month.

Saturn Another big gaseous planet in our solar system – now rising in the late afternoon, before Jupiter, and hanging out near the shape of a goat Capricorn. In early October, the ringed planet had a magnitude of +0.5, which is bright enough to see in the city sky. At sunset, the temperature rises about 30 degrees above the horizon and heads south by 10 p.m.

Always popular Mars It now rises in the east and northeast at about 10 p.m. very early October, but you might spot the earth’s reddish neighbor later in the evening hanging out near the pods the Bull. The planet moves toward its opposite in December and grows brighter from our Earthly perspective.

Mars started out in 2022 dimly at +1.5 degrees, according to the observatory, but came close to shining all year long. Mars appears at -0.7 degrees (bright) during the first week of October and continues to dazzle. By early November, the red planet had become noticeably brighter at 1.4 degrees.

Like an annoying little brother, the the moon It follows the planets around the evening sky throughout this month. Look south from October 4 to 5, when the first quarter of the moon passes after Saturn, according to the observatory. Our lunar companion approaches Jupiter on October 7 and slips closely by October 8. The full moon is October 9 and the waning moon approaches Mars on October 13 and glides next to the planet on October 14 and 15.

Venus He reaches a high level of engagement (hides in the glare of the sun) and gets (barely) out of his autumn vacation in December.

The Orionids Meteor showers are expected to peak on the night of October 21-22, according to the American Meteorite Society. At 20 stars per hour at peak, this is a normal shower rate. Invaders might see a bunch of shooting stars.

Meteors occur when Earth, on its annual journey around the sun, hits the dusty trails of comets that have passed through it. Dust and small pebbles stain our atmosphere and burn, giving us a show. The mother comet of Orchids is an ancient and historical friend: Halley.

Nature’s progress is partial solar eclipse On October 25, it will only be visible in Europe, northeastern Africa, the Middle East and western Asia, according to eclipse expert Fred Espenak, who runs EclipseWise.com.

* October 7 – Learn about the impact of DART on September 26, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, in a lecture on protecting Earth from out-of-this-world influences. The speakers will be Andrew Cheng and Andrew Rifkin, both from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. The scientists were co-leaders of the DART mission. Hosted by PSW Science. 8 p.m., Powell Hall at Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Avenue, NW in D.C. Information: pswscience.org. Registration for the personal lecture: shorturl.at/ARU48. (Masks and proof of coronavirus vaccine are mandatory.) Zoom web registration: shorturl.at/BIZ17. The lecture will be broadcast live on YouTube: shorturl.at/DMSW9.

* October 8 – “Multi-message astronomy,” spoke to Rita Sambruna, deputy director of astrophysics at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, at the Regular Meeting of Astronomers in the National Capital. 7:30 p.m. To access the online meeting, visit: capitalastronomers.org.

* October 9 – “The Birth of Supermassive Black Holes,” a talk by Jenny Green, professor of astrophysics at Princeton University, discusses how these cosmic monsters form. While Green will lecture virtually, members and guests are welcomed in person to the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club meeting, Room 3301, Exploration Hall, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. 7:30 p.m. Info: novac.com. Remote meeting details: shorturl.at/AQ069.

* October 29 – The bright planets are on display in “Astronomy for All” at Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County, Virginia. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Ambassadors provide an astronomy program, while members of the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club will provide telescopic views. 6-9 p.m. GPS: 11012 Edmonds Lane, Delaplane, Va., 2014. Information: novac.com. Garden fee: $10.

Blaine Friedlander can be reached at SkyWatchPost@gmail.com.

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