October is a great time of year to do some casual stargazing. The stars and planets are waiting for you — all you need is this month’s Sky Tour astronomy podcast. Just download or stream the audio file and take it with you outside.
October is a great time of year to do some casual stargazing. Evenings are pleasantly cool, it gets dark relatively early, the sky is often clear, and the bugs have gone away! The only other thing you need is this month’s Sky Tour astronomy podcast — just download or stream the audio file and take it with you outside.
This month opens with a crescent Moon in the evening sky. It reaches first quarter on October 2nd, and it fattens early to the full Hunter’s Moon on the 9th. Along the way it passes close to Saturn on the evening of the 5th and to Jupiter on the 8th. Jupiter is especially bright right now, because it passed its closest to Earth during an especially close opposition back on September 26th. So this Moon-Jupiter pairing will look dramatic.
Saturn reached opposition in mid-August, so it’s not as bright now as it was two months ago, nor is it a close match to Jupiter. But you can find it rather easily in the south after evening twilight because it stands out nicely against the dim stars of the constellation Capricornus.
Then, on October 14th, the waning gibbous Moon passes just 3° from another bright planet. Which one? Well, you can find out by listening to this month’s Sky Tour astronomy podcast!
Above Jupiter, by a couple of fists held at arm’s length, is the distinctive Great Square of the constellation Pegasus. This mythical flying horse is odd both because it flies upside-down across Northern Hemisphere skies and because it has no hindquarters. Instead, the leftmost star in the Great Square (Alpheratz) actually belongs to the next constellation over — get all the curious details from this month’s podcast!
In fact, you’ll get lots of great skywatching information in the 12 short minutes it takes to listen to this month’s podcast. Produced and narrated by S&T Senior Editor J. Kelly Beatty, Sky Tour is designed to provide a pleasant, casual, and yet informative romp across the nighttime sky. No experience or equipment is needed! Instead, all you need is a little curiosity, a clear sky, and this month’s Sky Tour episode.