October Astronomy

October is still a great month for stargazing. If you don't have Google sky maps, I recommend downloading it. You can check out the constellations right above you. That's one of my favorite things to do.

The full moon this month, Hunter's Moon, falls on the 20th! It technically reaches its peak at 10:57 in the morning, so you'll want to see it on the night of the 19th. It goes by other names as well, such as Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon. The Native Americans named it Hunter's Moon because it was that time of year when the leaves fell, the fields had been reaped, the hunters could easily spot foxes and the deer that were fattening up, and they knew it was time to hunt and gather meat for winter.


Photo: Getty Images

There's also a meteor shower this month, but the light of the full moon may interfere with seeing any meteors. The Orionids Meteor Shower, visible from October 16th - 24th, is one of the smaller ones; only 15 to 25 meteors could be seen per hour during its peak time October 21st -22nd. The meteors are debris from Halley's Comet, which we won't see return again until 2061. You'd have to be looking south from about 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning to see the meteor shower. I think most people will be sleeping, but don't worry, they'll be another meteor shower next month. At least we can still enjoy the full moon in all her beauty.

Perseid Meteor Shower

Photo: Getty Images

The other planets in our solar system are visible this month too. I've seen Jupiter a few times already.

Mercury: October 9th to November 28th best seen in the morning, especially between October 18th and November 1st.

Venus: March 26 to December 31 Best seen May 24 to December 31; in the southwestern sky starting at dusk. Look to the left of the moon to see her shining bright.

Mars: October 8th to December 31st in the mornings.

Jupiter: August 20 to December 31 (Best seen: August 20 to December 31 evenings)

Saturn: August 2nd To December 31st in the evenings.

Uranus: April 30 to November 3 (Best viewed: May 16 to November 3 mornings)

Neptune: September 14th to December 31st in the evenings. It's brightest between July 19th to November 8th

More night sky info: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/night-sky-visible-planets-october

Photo by JARBAS OLIVEIRA/AFP via Getty Images

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