Southern Colorado Skies / October 25 – 31, 2015

J-M-V_inv_smConsider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available, and a very good program (Cartes du Ciel) is available free at http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/en/start.

THIS WEEK

Check out the planetary alignment in the predawn hours. Look to the east to see Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury (if you’re lucky) – see figure and text below.

4 Vesta, the brightest asteroid, is at magnitude 6.8 (binoculars required!) this week. Look in the south-southeast just after dark. See http://www.space.com/30700-asteroid-vesta-october-viewing-tips.html.

Don’t forget that Daylight Savings Time ends next Sunday (11/1) morning at 2 a.m.! Fall back one hour.

Tuesday (October 27)

Full Moon at 6:05 a.m. MDT.

Friday / Saturday (October 30 / 31)

On Saturday asteroid 2015 TB145 will pass about 300,000 miles from Earth. It will cross the northern sky in the early morning hours of Saturday, but will be too dim (Magnitude 10 or 11) to see without an instrument. A nice Halloween topic on the Internet but rather uneventful in reality. A good promotion for Dr. Bill Brown’s topic at our November membership meeting (November 19), however.

Planets

Mercury (in Virgo): Now visible and relatively bright, Mercury is in the eastern sky about 45 minutes before sunrise. Look for it far below bright Venus and Jupiter. Mercury will slowly sink below the horizon as the week progresses. Venus (in Leo): Still-bright Venus keeps company in the pre-dawn eastern sky with Mars, Jupiter and (sometimes) Mercury. Mars (in Leo): See write-up for Venus. Jupiter (in Leo): See write-up for Venus. Saturn (in Scorpius): Now very low in the southwest as darkness falls. Uranus (in Pisces): High in the southeastern sky by about 9:00 p.m. Neptune (in Aquarius): High in the southern sky by about 9:00 p.m.

 

Iridium Flares and International Space Station (ISS): Sorry – these are too numerous to list here! If you’re serious, load the ISS DETECTOR app on your smart phone or tablet. Alternatively, refer to SCAS member Chuck Percival’s column in the Sunday Pueblo Chieftain.

 

Have fun!

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