Astronomical events of interest for October 2015

The name for October is derived from the Latin “Octo” meaning “eight” which came after September (derived from Latin for seven) the seventh month of the Roman calendar until 46 BC. In 46 BC the beginning of the year was changed to from March to January.

The traditional full moon name for October is the “Cold Moon”. In most years the Moon is also called the “Hunter’s Moon” because it is the first full moon after the fall equinox, but it could also be a “Harvest Moon”.  The “Harvest Moon” is somewhat unique in that the name is assigned to the full moon closest (before or after) to the autumn equinox. This means the “Harvest Moon” can happen in October or September. 

Other names include the "Blood Moon", or "Sanguine Moon" referring to the blood of the hunt, not the color of the Moon during a lunar eclipse.

To the Natchez it’s the “Turkey Moon”. The Oglala Sioux called it the “Moon of the Changing Season”. The Cheyenne named it “The Moon when Water Freezes at the Edge of the Stream”. The Taos call it “The Corn Ripe Moon” and the Oto call it “Deer Rutting Season Moon”.

Last Quarter Moon: October 4
Farthest from Earth: October 11 (252,518 miles mini-size moon)           
New Moon: October 12
First Quarter Moon: October 20
Closest to Earth: October 26 (222,739 miles super-size moon)
Full Moon: October: 27
Planets Visible:
Early evening: Saturn, look low in southwest. Saturn will be setting at the end of the month
Morning before sunrise: Venus, Mars and Jupiter, look east, Venus is the brightest followed by Jupiter. The planets will be moving relative to each other throughout the month, See special events.
October 1: Sunrise 6:54am MDT, Sunset 6:43pm MDT
October 23: The Sun enters the astrological sign Scorpio.
October 31: Sun enters the astronomical constellation Libra
October 31: Sunrise 7:26am MDT, Sunset 6:00pm MDT
October 26: Europe returns to standard time from “Daylight Displacement Time”.
October 31: Cross-quarter day (Halloween). Cross-quarter days occur half way between the seasons. They mark the time when we start to feel the effects of the upcoming season. Although winter does not officially start until December 21 (winter solstice), by Halloween we begin to feel the effects of old man winter.
October 8-9: The Draconids can be very active but usually only several are seen per hour. Unlike most showers you can watch this on in the early evening. Look north.
October 21-22: The Orionids are favorable (several per hour). Look east in the very early morning hours.
Special Events:
October all month: All of the action is taking place in the east before sunrise. The planets Venus, Jupiter and Mars will be putting an excellent display of planetary motion. Watch as the planets mix it up around the bright star Regulus. If you are a Breakfast Club regular go outside and look east just before Rick gets on the air.
October 1: 6:00am
  • Look east for a line of four bright objects. The brightest, Venus is the highest in the sky, Below Venus is Regulus, the brightest star in constellation Leo. Below Regulus is Mars. Below Mars is brilliant Jupiter. This alignment will look entirely different at month’s end.
  • Look south. To upper left of the Moon is the bright star Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus, the bull. (on October 2 the Moon will move in front of Aldebaran)
October 2: Early morning before sunrise look southwest. The Moon occults Aldebaran.
October 5-6: Early morning before sunrise look southeast, the Moon is in between Pollux and Castor (Gemini twins) above and Procyon below. Procyon is the brightest star in Canis Minor, the little dog.
October 8: 6:00am look east. Venus has moved next to Regulus and is joined by a crescent moon. Jupiter and Mars are closer together.
October 9: 6:00am look east. A thin crescent moon will be next to Jupiter.
October 13: 6:00am look east. Mars moves above Jupiter and Venus moves below Regulus
October 14-20: 6:00am look east.  Mars and Jupiter pass each other.
October 15-31: 6:00am look east. Venus, Mars and Jupiter form a close group
October 16: Look southwest early evening after sunset. The crescent moon, Saturn and the bright star Antares form a triangle. The Moon is at the top, Saturn to the lower right and Antares to the lower left. Antares is a red super giant star.
October 17: 6:00am look east. Mars and Jupiter will be close enough to be seen at the same time in small telescopes. They will be with a moon’s diameter.
October 24-27: 6:00am look east. Venus and Jupiter pass each other.
October 29: Early morning before sunrise look south. The Moon is below right of Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus.
Historical Trivia
October 7, 1958: The newly created NASA approves the Mercury project, the first to put an American in space.
October 11, 2000: Space Shuttle program achieves 100 missions with the launch of Discovery and installs the first permanent framework structure on International Space Station, setting the stage for future additions. 
Wishing you clear skies.
Rick's Thought for the Day


Thought 10.6.15

"Sometimes what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all"