It’s autumn and the Sun is now setting before 7pm which means more time for observing. This is exaggerated even more at the end of the month on the 30th of October as summer time ends and the clocks go back 1 hour.
October nights can get very chilly so it’s time to start taking out the heavy clothes again. Wrapping up and keeping warm can be the difference between enjoying a night’s astronomy and coming inside early.
Jupiter will be the main feature in the sky during October this year. The king of the planets will be prominent in the sky throughout the month. If you have a small telescope or binoculars, it’s the perfect time to take a look at the four largest moons of Jupiter which are Europa, Ganymede, Calisto and Io.
Sun and Moon
|Date||Sunrise (Irish Time)||Sunset (Irish Time)|
Mercury appears in the morning sky in the middle of the month. Look for it about 60 mins before sunrise low in the east. On the morning of 24th October, the crescent moon will be close to Mercury.
Venus is visible before sunrise but is very hard to see. Look low in the east about 30 mins before sunrise.
Mars is now becoming quite prominent in the late evening/early morning sky. It rises around 8.30pm and climbs high into the sky during the night. It will start the night low in the east and travel south as the night goes on. It will be located above Orion and Taurus. Mars will appear as a salmon coloured star and will be quite bright.
Jupiter remains prominent this month. It will be high in the east as the sky darkens during October. If you have a small telescope or binoculars, it’s the perfect time to take a look at the four largest moons of Jupiter – Europa, Ganymede, Calisto and Io.
Saturn is visible low in the southwest during October. It has gotten dimmer but it still one of the brightest objects in that area. It is best seen early in the night as it sets around 1am.
Stars and Constellations
The above sky chart is for 23:00 on 15/10/2022. You can click on the chart to open a new tab and bring you to Heavens Above. On this website you can generate a custom chart for the time and date you wish. The spring constellations are gone and the winter constellation are appearing on the eastern horizon after sunset.
High overhead are Cepheus (the house), Cassiopeia (the queen), Andromeda and Pegasus (the flying horse). Andromeda is the location of the Andromeda galaxy which is the furthest object that can be seen with the naked eye. Although, you will need very dark skies to see it. Andromeda and the Milky Way galaxy are headed for a collision and will collide in an estimated 4.5 billion years.
In the south at this time of year, is the constellation of Pisces (the fish) and Aquarius (the water bearer). Mars is also in this area of the sky. Over in the east we have the winter constellations rising. You will see Taurus (the bull) which has a distinctive “V” shape and beside it the Pleiades or M45.