Looking skyward in the month of October, there are a number of breathtaking sights to behold. While the air grows crisp, the shadows grow long, and the specter of Halloween looms, stargazers can see fascinating celestial bodies in the skies above. Let’s look at some of the coolest and most fascinating celestial sights coming in October.
October 8, Evening
Tuesday, October 8, will mark the peak of the Draconids Meteor Shower. Debris dropped by Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner will cause the meteor shower to begin on October 6, and it will carry through the evening of the 10th. During Tuesday evening, the meteor shower will be at its strongest.
The best place to look for the meteor shower will be in the Northern sky, just under the luminous Draco constellation. Sadly, the bright light from the waxing gibbous moon might make it hard to detect all but the brightest points of light in the meteor shower.
October 10, Evening
On the evening of Thursday, October 10, a waxing gibbous moon will pass only a few degrees under Neptune from our point of view. Due to the Sun and Moon being nearly opposite one another relative to Earth during this time, the moon will be very bright and luminous. It will also appear quite small, as it will be very close to its apogee on the 10th.
At the time when the moon passes nearby, its luminosity will make the distant blue planet difficult to see. However, observers will note Neptune’s location both before and after the moon moves away in the evening.
October 13, All Night
Throughout the evening on October 13, which is on a Sunday this year, a full Hunter’s Moon will be visible. The Hunter’s Moon is the name for October’s full moon. It has also historically been known as a Blood Moon or even a Sanguine Moon, reflecting October’s eerie reputation.
This full moon occurs shortly after the moon’s apogee, so it will appear as the smallest full moon of the year. The Hunter’s Moon will be opposite the Sun relative to Earth, meaning it will appear right at sundown and then set directly as the Sun rises. This means it will be bright and visible throughout the entire night.