This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2020 October 3 – 10 ~by Curt Nason
This is a good time of year to double your sky observing time. For the next few weeks, before we return to Standard Time, the sky is dark and the stars are blazing when most people are up to start their day. And it is not bitterly cold or snowbound. Orion and his dogs are prominent to the south, with Taurus, Auriga and Gemini arching over them.
In early evening you can see the 4th, 5th and 6th brightest stars. Look for yellow Arcturus sinking to the west, blue-white Vega overhead and Capella in Auriga rising in the northeast. Later, notice the positions of the circumpolar Big Dipper, Little Dipper and Cassiopeia. The next morning go outside and see how they have changed. Sometimes it is nice to have a little assurance that the world keeps right on turning.
This Week in the Solar System
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:20 am and sunset will occur at 6:54 pm, giving 11 hours, 34 minutes of daylight (7:25 am and 6:59 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 7:30 am and set at 6:41 pm, giving 11 hours, 11 minutes of daylight (7:34 am and 6:46 pm in Saint John).
The Moon is at third quarter next Friday, setting at 3 pm and rising at 11:30 that evening. Jupiter and Saturn are at their highest for observing an hour after sunset. Telescope users might catch Jupiter’s stormy Red Spot around 10:30 pm Sunday and 9:30 next Friday. Mars will dominate the sky over the next two months. On Tuesday it is closest to Earth, one week before it reaches opposition. A telescope is required to see any of its features, but its brightness and ruddy colour are an awesome naked eye sight. Binoculars will show a yellow-orange disc. Mercury is a difficult binocular target, setting just 35 minutes after sunset. Venus will be just below Regulus this Saturday morning. On Wednesday evening and Thursday morning you might see a few extra shooting stars from the Draconid meteor shower (formerly called the Giacobinids).
With astronomy meetings and outreach activities on hold, you can watch the local Sunday Night Astronomy Show at 8 pm and view archived shows.
Questions? Contact Curt Nason.