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TOPIC: October 2009


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On this day in 1992, the Peekskill meteorite broke up over the United States, with one fragment damaging a car parked in the driveway of a residence in Peekskill, New York.
The event was witnessed by thousands across the US East Coast.

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Reminder:
Clocks in the UK will move back by an hour as civil time moves from British Summer Time (BST) to Coordinated Universal Time (Now they = Greenwich Mean Time) at 02:00 BST (01:00 GMT) on the 25th October, 2009.

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The Moon is close to the magnitude 5.1 star, Iota Arietis tonight.
Iota Arietis is a binary star in the constellation Aries. It is approximately 660 light years from Earth.

Separation=1.13°, PA=331.9°, h=48.6°

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Check out satellite's spectacular lunar impact
The Lunar Crater Observing and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission is projected to impact the moon Friday at 6:30 a.m.
Nautical twilight begins at 6:40 a.m., so the sky will still be dark enough for viewing the residual dust plumes left behind by the impact with 10-inch or larger telescopes.

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October Camelopardalis meteor shower
Around this time last year, an amateur astronomer J. Moilanen detected a new meteor shower which originate from a hitherto unknown comet.
The comet is believed to have an orbit period of about 4,000 year. But what is worrying is that its orbit brings it to just inside the Earth's orbit; this makes it a potentially dangerous long-period comet.



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Mercury is  at Dichotomy (Half phase) on the 5th October, 2009.
(16.9h)

Very few have seen Mercury, but tomorrow that number may rise.
Tomorrow morning, 30 minutes before sunrise, will probably be the best chance this year to see Mercury.
All you will need is a clear eastern sky.
Venus (mag -3.9) will be the brightest 'star' in that part of the sky, and you can use it to draw an imaginary line downwards (along the  plane of the solar system) through Mercury (mag -0.4) and the fainter Saturn (mag 1.2)  towards the yet to rise Sun.
A pair of binoculars will be handy just to confirm your sighting.
The star Zavijava (Beta Virginis) at magnitude 3.6  is beside Saturn.


Mercury-2009-10-5-6h15b.gif
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Planet Mercury:         2009-10- 5   6h15m
Magnitude:               -0.4
Diameter:                  7.1"
Illuminated Fraction: 0.479
Phase:                      92°
Distance:                   0.9388 AU
Solar Distance:          0.3077 AU
Rise        :                  5h28m Azimuth:+82°41'
Position(2000):         RA 11h40m24.04s,   Dec +03°29'47.3"

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Visible in the southeast at the onset of darkness, Jupiter glows as a yellowish-white object astride the stars of the constellation of Capricornus and is visible nearly all night. To the naked eye, Jupiter reigns as the fourth-brightest object in the sky behind the sun, moon and brilliant planet Venus. On occasion, the planet Mars can outshine Jupiter when Earth swings close to the Red Planet, but even then only for a few weeks at a time.

Source

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Saturn in October, 2009.

Saturn was in superior conjunction with the Sun on Sept. 17, as far as it can be from us for the year.  So, this month, we play "catch up" with it as it emerges from the morning twilight.  It is something to get up a little earlier for before embarking on the work day.
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Being so bright, Jupiter makes a good jumping-off point to sky sights that aren't quite so easy to spot. For instance, look high to Jupiter's upper right for the star Altair. They're separated by about three times the width of your fist at arms length. Altair is the piercing eye of the constellation Aquila, the Eagle.

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