Planetary Highlights

Venus continues to linger in the evening twilight very low in the SW sky, though you need to look no more than 40 minutes after sunset.  On the 16th it lies above Antares in Scorpius, whilst on the 8th a crescent moon lies above.

Uranus and Neptune are both well placed for binocular/telescopic observation during late evening and overnight.  Uranus comes to opposition on the 3rd and at mag +5.7 is easily within binocular range in Pisces.  Neptune lies in Aquarius.

Conspicuous Jupiter rises in the early morning hours at the start of Oct, though by the end is visible above the east horion by 11om.  It is located below the 'twins' in Gemini.  Always a worthy target look for the 'disk belts', the red spot and the Galilean moons.  The Moon pays a visit on the 26th.

Mars rises a few hours after Jupiter.  From the 10th - 20th Mars passes just above Regulus, th chief star in the 'sickle' of Leo.  View also on the 15th when comet ISON (which may become a brilliant object by late November) lies just above Mars, you will however require a telescope to spot it at this point in time.  The Moon joins Mars and Regulus on the 1st, 29th and 30th.

October Meteors

The Orionids (Oct 16-27) are the months most reliable shower, peaking this year over the night of Oct 21/22.  Like the May Eta Aquarids, Orionids are associated with Comet Halley, but are more favourable for northern hemisphere observers due ot the radiant being situated high in the S by early morning hours.  Orionids are swift, often producing persistent trains.  Peak rates can exceed 20 per hour.  Unfortunately a near full moon will drown out all but the brightest this year.

The weak Piscid shower has three peak dates, Oct 13th being the optimum one.  Observed rates are little better than sporadic levels - around 3-7 per hour.  Piscid meteors are often slow, of long duration, but not very brilliant.

Perhaps the most interesting shower is the Giacobinids or Draconids (Oct 6-10th peaking on the 8th) which are associated with the periodic comet Giacabini-Zinner (6 yrs).  The shower is very erratic, but can produce outbursts of activity so keep an eye open.  Early morning viewing will be the optimum time.

Moon Phases

  • New: 5th
  • First Qtr: 11th
  • Full: 19th
  • Last Qtr: 27th.

Leeds Astromeet 2013 Information

Initial details for this year's Astromeet have been released.  Leeds Astrommet is on Saturday November 9th.  Doors open at 9pm, lectures 10am-5pm.  The venue as usual is the Clothworker's Hall and Foyer, School of Music, Leeds University.

Invited speakers are:

  • Professor Richard Holme, University of Liverpool: Planetary magnetic fields'
  • Dr Peter Doel, University College London 'The Dark Energy Survey Camera'
  • Dr Allan Chapman, Wadham College, Oxford: 'Johannes Hevelius: the first big telescope astronomer'.

Admission on door is £10 (£5 for students and under 18s).  There will be the usual trade stands and raffle.  We normally meet at the top of Whitby College drive for 8am.