Celestial events in the skies for the week of Oct. 24-30, 2017 as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.
It will be a long, drawn-out Halloween Week and the Moon will be a crescent in the early evening moving from planet Saturn through the Milky Way to First Quarter on Saturday. This is a great time to explore our celestial neighbor with any telescope or even binoculars. Moon maps are available in library books, and of course the Internet. Every crater, dark sea and mountain range has a name, mostly after famous human, and it’s fun to learn some of them.
Tuesday, October 24
The slender crescent Moon is to the right of bright Saturn tonight, and tomorrow night it will be to the left of the ring world. All this celestial action takes place in Ophiuchus the Serpent bearer, the unacknowledged 13th constellation of the Zodiac.
Wednesday, October 25
On this 1975 date in space history, the Soviet Union landed Venera 10 on Venus. The crushing atmosphere and 900 F. degree surface heat disabled the lander after 50 minutes of transmitting data and images.
Thursday, October 26
Spend some time outside this week and enjoy some starlight while taking in the neighborhood view of Autumn stripping our trees bare. And the crisp air gently blows under tolerable temperatures, so enjoy the evening outdoors while still comfortable.
Friday, October 27
Sometime in the late evening before midnight you might look south and notice one bright star in an area of the sky that doesn’t have any more bright ones. That’s Fomalhaut, an Arabic derivative for “mouth of the fish.” It is also called “The Lonely One” as it is not just the brightest star in the constellation Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish, but the brightest thing in the surrounding constellations of Capricornus, Grus, Microscopium and Sculptor. This amazing star has a ring of an evolving planetary system that has been photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Saturday, October 28
Goblins will be flying about the starry skies, the moonlight revealing bat silhouettes against the canopy of night. The Milky Way is still visible in the moonshine, and the last weekend of October is one to just look up, take in the sights and breath in the fresh air of Autumn.
Sunday, October 29
The Great Square of four stars that make up the body of the Flying Horse Pegasus are high above the northeast. And as the night wears on Pisces, Aries and Taurus rise above the horizon.
Monday, October 30
The morning sky the last week of October has Mars rising ahead of Venus at around 6:30 am before being wiped out in the rising Sun’s glare by 7 pm. The constellations of the morning are those of January with Orion standing tall in the south.