Monday, October 3, 2011

Stargazing October 2011

Here are some highlights for October 2011. It's been a while since I posted a calendar of astronomical events in this blog so here I go again.

World Space Week
October 4-10. World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition. The United Nations General Assembly (1999) selected the dates, Oct 4-10, to commemorate the first launch of the first man-made satellite (Sputnik 1; 4 Oct 1957), and the signing of the Treaty of Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (10 Oct 1967). This year's theme is "50 years of Human Space Flight."

Draconids Meteor Shower
October 8. This meteor shower is projected to have a sudden outburst this 2011. The highest rate for the Draconids was 1000/hr recorded on 1933. Since the meteors radiate from Draco, it is best to view this shower at latitudes where Draco is close to your Zenith (point above your head). For the Philippines, Draco doesn't approach our zenith, but will still be visible. However, the moon will be in its gibbous face so light from the moon will conceal the fainter meteor streaks.

La Luna del Cacciatore (Hunter's Moon)
October 12. Anyone who's an avid fan of the first AVP movie will surely recognize the phrase "Hunter's moon." The Hunter's moon is also known as the Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon. It is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon. The name Hunter's moon came from the benefit of moonlight to hunter's in shooting migratory birds. Also, Native American Indians also are said to stalk and hunt prey during this time to prepare for the upcoming winter.

Comet Elenin's closest Approach
October 16. The comet's orbit will bring it within close to 22 million miles of Earth. The comet was discovered by Russian amateur astronomer Leonid Elenin in Dec. last year.

Solar Week
October 17-21. More on Solar Week.
Mercury-Venus Conjunction
October 20. Conjunction, in astronomy, happens when two objects are apparently close to each other in the night sky. On October 20 watch the sunset and look for two bright points of light close together.

Orionid Meteor Shower
October 22. Coming from the same meteoroid stream as the Eta Aquarids, the Orionids belong to the debris left by Halley's Comet. It's zenithal hourly rate (rate when the radiant/source is close to the zenith) is 25 per hour. The source will be easy to locate, just look for the iconic Orion's belt. * * *

Jupiter at Opposition
October 29. A planet in opposition is in it's closest approach to Earth. This is when the planet will be exactly opposite to the position of the Sun in the sky, and will be most suitable for observing.

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