What are some skywatching highlights in October 2020? Not one, however two, full Moons; Mars at opposition; and discovering the Andromeda galaxy.
What’s Up for October? A harvest moon and a blue moon, Mars is up all night time, and a journey past the galaxy…
This month brings not only one, however two full moons, in the beginning and finish of the month. The full moon on October 1st known as the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the title for the complete moon that happens closest to the September equinox. (One of two days per 12 months when day and night time are of equal size.) Most years the Harvest Moon falls in September, however each few years it shifts over to October. The title traces again to each Native American and European traditions associated, not surprisingly, to reap time.
At the tip of October, on the 31st, we’ll take pleasure in a second full moon. When there are two full moons in a month, the second is commonly referred to as a blue moon. (There’s one other, extra conventional definition of a blue moon, however that is essentially the most well-known.) Note that that is the one two-full-moon month in 2020!
October is a good time for viewing Mars, because the planet is seen all night time proper now, and reaches its highest level within the sky round midnight. This interval of fantastic visibility coincides with the occasion often known as opposition, which happens about each two years, when Mars is immediately on the alternative facet of Earth from the Sun. This can be across the time when Mars and Earth come closest collectively of their orbits, which means the Red Planet is at its brightest within the sky, so don’t miss it.
Spacecraft from a number of nations are presently on the best way to Mars, together with NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, which is scheduled to land there in February.
Finally this month, it’s a good time to attempt to spot the galaxy of Andromeda. Andromeda is often known as M31. It’s a spiral galaxy related in look to our personal Milky Way, however barely bigger. Both include tons of of billions of stars, and (we expect), trillions of planets. Now we will’t see the general form of the Milky Way, as a result of we’re inside it,
so Andromeda provides us a way of what our galaxy would appear like if you happen to may see it from afar.
Andromeda is faint, and finest seen with a telescope, however you’ll be able to observe it with binoculars or perhaps a mobile phone with digital camera on it, even from light-polluted areas. And underneath very darkish skies, it’s simply barely a naked-eye object. So though it is perhaps a little bit difficult, it’s price it to see a whole galaxy with your individual eyes!
To discover the Andromeda galaxy, look to the northeast within the night sky as soon as it’s actually darkish. Find the sideways “W” that represents the throne of queen Cassiopeia. To the correct of Cassiopeia lies the constellation Andromeda, which incorporates this string of brilliant stars. Moving upward, cling a left on the second of those brilliant stars, and as you scan again over towards Cassiopeia, you’ll discover a faint, fuzzy patch of sunshine. That fuzzy patch is the Andromeda galaxy, situated 2 million gentle years away. If you handle it, congratulations! You’ve simply gone intergalactic.
Here are the phases of the Moon for October. You can atone for all of NASA’s missions to discover the photo voltaic system and past at nasa.gov. I’m Preston Dyches from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and that’s What’s Up for this month.