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October 2018

Sky Report - October 2018

By Dr. Bob Doyle, Emeritus Faculty
Dr. Doyle taught and was Planetarium Director at Frostburg State University for over 40 years

First Quarter of October (Oct 1-8)

Local sunrises are about 7:14 a.m. with sunsets about 6:54 p.m. Sunlight then lasts 11 hours and 40 minutes. In early October, the moon is in the morning sky, appearing half full in the southern dawn on October 2. The brilliant planet Venus appears very low in the western dusk, setting only 30 minutes after sunset. The bright planet Jupiter appears low in the Southwest, setting about 2 hours after sunset. The planet Saturn is in South Southwest, setting around 11 p.m. The planet Mars is easiest to view, peaking in the South about 9 p.m. Late on October 8, the moon’s motion about the Earth will carry it from the morning to the evening side of the sun (New Moon).

Second Quarter of October (Oct 9-16)

Local sunrises are about 7:22 a.m. with sunsets about 6:42 p.m. Sunlight then lasts 11 hours and 20 minutes. The evening moon grows from a slender crescent to half full on October 16. Low in the southwestern dusk on October 11, a slender crescent moon appears above the bright planet Jupiter. On October 14, a crescent moon appears near the planet Saturn. On October 16, the evening moon appears half full (like a letter ‘D’) with its right half lit by the sun. Along the moon’s straight edge, the sun there is rising, lighting up the crater rims and elevations. The evenings of October 15-17 are best for spotting the moon’s surface features with a telescope.

Third Quarter of October (Oct 17-23)

Local sunrises are about 7:30 a.m. with sunsets about 6:30 p.m. Sunlight then lasts 11 hours. The moon passes by the yellow planet Saturn on the evenings of October 17 and 18. On October 17, the moon will be to the right of Mars; on October 18, the moon will be to the left to Mars. Some beautiful fall evening sights are coming into view in the eastern evening sky. In the Northeast is the bright golden star Capella. Capella is the bright star closest to the northern pole of the sky so it’s visible in the evening sky on three seasons – fall, winter and spring. To the right of Capella is a mingling of tiny stars called the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. The Pleiades resembles a tiny dipper, but it’s not the Little Dipper (in the northern sky). Below the Pleiades is the bright orange star Aldebaran, marking the eye of Taurus, the Bull.

Last Quarter of October (Oct 24-31)

Local sunrise are about 7:39 a.m. with sunset at 6:19 p.m. Sunlight then lasts 10 hours and 40 minutes. The moon is full on October 24. This is the Hunters’ Moon, that gives extra evening moonlight on the following two evenings. In the 1700’s and 1800’s, hunters’ used this extra moonlight to spot animals crossing the freshly harvested fields. On October 26, the planet Venus will pass south of the sun. This is when Venus is closest to the Earth but will be out of sight as Venus’ night side will then be facing the Earth. In late November, Venus will appear on the other side of the sun and will be a brilliant point of light low in the southeastern dawn. Around midnight, you can see the star group Orion in the East. Orion’s trademark feature is his belt of three stars in a row. On October 31, the moon will be in the morning sky, appearing half full (like a reversed ‘D’) in the southern dawn.

The Frostburg State Planetarium has free public presentations on October 12 and 26 (both Wednesdays) at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Planetarium is in room 186 of the Gira Center.

Contact Us

Dr. Jason Speights

Director of the MLC
Associate Professor of Physics

Email (preferred):
Phone: 301.687.4339
Office: Gira CCIT 189

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Department of Physics and Engineering
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303

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