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Sky Report - October 2013

Venus Blossoms in the Western Dusk and Hunter's Moon on 18th

Seen all through October: The Big Dipper is lowest in the North on October evenings. High in the North is Cassiopeia, whose five bright stars resemble a stretched out letter 'M'. The Summer Triangle features its brightest star Vega in the Northwest. Low in the South is the bright star Fomalhaut, of the Southern Fish. The bright golden star Capella is prominent in the Northeast. To the right of Capella is the Seven Sisters star cluster, resembling a tiny dipper (but it's not the Little Dipper, which is always in the North). Below the Seven Sisters is the orange star Aldebaran, marking the eye of Taurus. Venus becomes very prominent in the western evening sky, setting more than two hours after sunset.

Early October Sights – October opens with a crescent moon at dawn. Late on October 4th, the moon swings from the morning to the evening side of the sun. At dusk on October 7th, the crescent moon appears between the brilliant planet Venus (on the left) and the planet Saturn (on the right). On the evening of October 8th, the crescent moon appears above the brilliant planet Venus in the southwestern dusk. In early October, Hancock's sunrises are about 7:10 a.m. and sunsets are about 6:55 p.m.

Mid October Sights – On the evening of October 11th, the evening moon appears half full, offering the best views of its craters. For along the moon's straight left edge, the sun is rising, lighting up the crater rims and mountain peaks. On the morning of October 15th, the planet Mars appears close to the bright star Regulus in the heart of Leo, the Lion. On the evening of October 16th, the brilliant planet Venus appears close to the red star Antares in the head of the Scorpion. On October 18th, the moon is full, in front of the stars of Pisces, the Fishes. This is the Hunter's Moon, a full moon that offers extra evening moonlight for the next four nights. In mid October, Hancock's sunrises are about 7:25 a.m. and sunsets are about 6:32 p.m.

Late October Sights – The nearly full moon on the 21st makes it more difficult to see the meteors in the Orionid meteor shower. A meteor shower occurs when the Earth crosses a comet's orbit and the Earth gets bombed with comet grit. This comet grit gets burned up many miles above the Earth's surface, producing a meteor or 'falling star'. This meteor shower is called the Orionid as the meteors can be traced back to a region in the star group Orion. The Orionids are due to debris from Halley's Comet which last passed through the inner solar system in 1986.The moon appears half full in the morning sky on October 26th.In late October, Hancock's sunrises are about 7:35 a.m. with sunsets about 6:15 p.m.

Our Science Sunday presentation on October Sundays is "Mammals of Europe" , shown in the Science Discovery Center in Compton Science Center at 4 p.m . Our half hour program is followed by a tour of the Science Discovery Center, with its outstanding display of global wildlife. The Compton Science Center is close to the large building under construction with plenty of nearby parking.

Frostburg State's new technology center called the CCIT has most of its outer walls in place. The building will likely be opening in the spring of 2014. It features an auditorium called the Multi-Media Center or MLC, which includes a digital planetarium projector. There will be resumption of our Sunday Public Planetarium programs, featuring a review of the past week's weather, the current night sky sights and a half hour feature. Sunday Tours of the Science Discovery Center will also be available to the interested public.

By Dr. Bob Doyle

To contact Dr. Doyle, his mailing address is Planetarium, Frostburg State University, Frostburg, MD 21532 or by email at rdoyle@frostburg.edu.









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