The sky this month October 2021


SaturnThe movement of against the background stars stops as its retrograde path ends on October 10 and resumes its movement east. The movement of the planet is barely perceptible to the naked eye. Saturn shines at magnitude 0.4 in early October and decreases to magnitude 0.1 in the second half of the month. On October 13, Saturn is about 6 ° northeast of a waxing gibbous moon.

The giant is a breathtaking sight in a telescope, with the best viewing hours after sunset. The magnificent ring system, tilted 19 ° from our line of sight, is clearly visible around the 17 “wide planetary disc. The north face of the ring system is now visible. Over the next several years, the rings will become narrower, revealing more of the southern hemisphere of the planet. The brightest ring is the B ring, separated from the darker A ring by the Cassini division. The C ring, or the ring pancake, is thin enough, you should be able to see the planet through it.

Saturn’s yellowish disc reveals few details. Rare thunderstorms do appear, so watch out for small white spots that might turn into something bigger. An equatorial belt is often visible under good viewing conditions.

Saturn’s brightest moon, 8.5 Titan magnitude, is easy to see through any telescope. It appears in the north of the planet on October 5 and 21 and in the south of the planet on October 13 and 29.

A trio of magnitude 10 moons orbit closer than Titan. Tethys, Dione, and Rhea are fairly easy to spot. More difficult is Enceladus, shining near magnitude 12. It lies near the shining edge of the rings.

Iapetus reaches the upper conjunction on October 10, then progresses eastward, reaching the greatest aspect ratio on October 29. Its darker side turned to earth, reducing it to the 12th magnitude. It is 8 ‘east of Saturn, 12 times farther than Tethys, also east of the rings on the same night.

Saturn sets around 2 a.m. local time on October 1 and just before midnight for Halloween.

Jupiter shines brightly in eastern Capricorn all month, decreasing slightly from magnitude -2.6 to -2.5. Its retrograde path slows down to stop on October 18, a week after Saturn. Careful sky watchers will see Jupiter’s position relative to Deneb Algedi change slightly this month. It is 1.8 ° northwest of the star on October 1 and moves to a point 2.1 ° northwest on October 18. It then returned to less than 1.9 ° from Deneb Algedi on October 31. On October 14 and 15, the waxing gibbous moon is nearby. The planet sets around 3:10 a.m. local time on October 1 and at 1:15 a.m. on October 31.

Jupiter is best seen from late twilight – when the low-contrast views of its atmosphere are a sight to behold – and for a few hours in the evening, before it sets in the west after midnight. Any telescope reveals marvelous detail, from the planet’s pair of dark equatorial belts to more subtle features to the north and south. Every few days, the Great Red Spot is also visible.

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