Sky at a Glance 2022 October 29 – November 5

Photo showing deep sky objects surrounding the Great Square of Pegasus in the eastern autumn sky.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2022 October 29 – November 5 ~by Curt Nason

Deep sky objects (DSOs), composed of star clusters and nebulae, are often called faint fuzzies by amateur astronomers but many are bright enough to be seen with binoculars in a dark sky. Let us start by using the Square of Pegasus as a guidepost. The southwest corner of the square is the base of the winged horse’s neck, and moving away from the square by a few stars takes us to the horse’s eye. Extending that line by half its distance is where you will find a small blurry patch called M2, a globular cluster that is the second entry in the Messier list of DSOs. Angling to the left at the eye we come to a star at the horse’s snout, and extending by nearly half that distance is a larger globular cluster, M15.

The star at the northeast corner of the square is Alpheratz, the brightest star of Andromeda, from which spread two lines of stars. The second star from Alpheratz along the brighter string is orange Mirach, and moving up two stars across the dimmer string we encounter the large Andromeda Galaxy, M31. In the opposite direction from Mirach, and at about the same distance as M31, is fainter M33, the third largest galaxy in our Local Group behind Andromeda and the Milky Way. We see M33 face on, which makes it appear dimmer.

The third brightest star of Andromeda is Almach, situated at the end of the string from Mirach. Look to the left of the line over halfway between Almach and Algol, the second brightest star in Perseus, for the open cluster of stars called M34. Next, look above Andromeda for the familiar W-shape of Cassiopeia. A line from the bottom right star of the W to the top right and extended the same distance brings us to open cluster M52.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:55 am and sunset will occur at 6:09 pm, giving 10 hours, 14 minutes of daylight (7:59 am and 6:16 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 8:05 am and set at 5:59 pm, giving 9 hours, 54 minutes of daylight (8:08 am and 6:06 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is at first quarter and near Saturn on Tuesday, and on Friday it slides below Jupiter. Saturn is at its highest and best for observing at 8 pm, followed by Jupiter at 10:30. On Wednesday evening telescope users might see the shadows of two moons on Jupiter’s clouds; with the shadow of Ganymede entering at 9:22 and that of Europa exiting at 10:00. Mars is stationary on Sunday, beginning its westward retrograde motion relative to the stars. Mercury and Venus are too close to the Sun for observing. For most of the week the zodiacal light might be visible in the east from rural areas.

On Sunday evening at 8 pm, tune in to the Sunday Night Astronomy Show via the Facebook page or YouTube channel of Astronomy by the Bay.

Questions? Contact Curt Nason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *