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TOPIC: October 2009


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RE: October 2009
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A thin crescent Moon is near to the planet Venus in the morning sky, 16th October, 2009;  -3.9mag Separation=7.0°, PA=51.6°, h=12.9°

venus-2009-10-16-5h59mb.gif
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Position of Jupiters satellites
Image4.gif

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Highlights

Halloween, the word itself, is a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve. It actually has its origins in the Celtic New Year. The holiday was called Samhain (Sah-ween). The date marked the beginning of winter. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year travelled into the other world. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honour of the dead, to aid them on their journey. Here are a few deepsky objects to look out for:

In Aquila , "The Ghost of the Moon Nebula"
In Cetus, NGC246 called "The Skull Nebula".
In Bootes (abbreviated "BOO"), you may find The Spider Galaxy, NGC5829 .


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Meteor Showers

There are many minor meteor showers this month...
Orionids produce rates of 5-15/hour with occasional surges in activity that may reach 25 or even 50/hour. The shower's radiant near Betelgeuse is best-placed just before morning twilight begins. Its radiant is R.A. 6hr 20m Dec +16 degrees, which is close to Xi Orionis. They're from Halley's Comet. October 15-29 2003 Maximum Oct. 21.
Draconids have produced two major storms in 1933 and 1946, and several other significant outbursts. Draconids are very slow meteors. The parent body of the meteors is Comet Giacobini-Zinner. October 6-10, Maximum Oct. 9/10
Epsilon Geminids On the 18th, the radiant will be at RA 6h 48m, Dec +27, several degrees north of the star epsilon Gemini, (Mebsuta). These are fast meteors, at about 70 km per second. These meteors might be associated with either Comet Ikeya, C/1964 N1, or Comet Nishikawa-Takamizawa-Tago, C/1987 B1. ZHR rates for this shower are about 2 meteors per hour at maximum. October 10-27 Maximum Oct. 18/19
The Sextanids are active September 9 through October 9. Though, this one is more of a radio/radar shower
The northern Taurids and southern Taurids start to become active about October 1st, but do not reach maximums until early November. Both have fairly slow meteors, with the northern Taurids velocity at 29 km per second, and the southern at 27 km per second. At maximum in November, both showers will peak at about ZHR rates of 5 meteors per hour. These meteors are part of the Taurid stream which in turn has been associated with Comet Encke.
You can listen to them by tuning to the 67 MHz meteor radar in Roswell, NM.



Shower Activity Period Maximum Radiant Velocity ZHR
DateR.A. Dec. km/s
OrionidsOct 216h20m16°25
SextantidsSept 24-Oct 9Oct 210.5h-8.7°29.8km/s9
Eta CetidsSept 20-Nov 2Oct. 1-538°
October CygnidsSept 22-Oct 11Oct. 4-9
ArietidsSept-OctOct 8/9
Delta Aurigidsfrom Sept 22-OctOct. 6-1564km/s23
DraconidsOctober 6-10Oct. 9/1017.8h78.1°28.7km/s35
Epsilon GeminidsOctober 10-27Oct. 18/196h48m27°66km/s2
Leo Minorids
Northern Piscids3
The SextanidsSept 9-Oct 9
Northern TauridsOct 1 - NovNovember3.2h17.5°29km/s5
Southern TauridsOct 1 - NovNovember27km/s5


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A brilliant Venus in the east will greet early morning walkers, at 6 a.m. as the month begins Thursday. On a line pointing down toward the horizon, Mercury and Saturn stand out, at magnitudes of 0.8 and 1.1, respectively.
This will be the best time to observe Mercury all year, at its greatest elongation west on Oct. 6. Two days later, only .3 degrees separate the innermost planet from Saturn. A 5-inch telescope at 50x will show both planets nicely, but remember - Saturn's ring system now is pretty much edge-on to our line of sight, so you will not spot it without a very large scope.

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The arrival of autumn brings another host of seasonal evening stars that are dominating the eastern sky and each night takes over more and more of our attention as summer's stars slip away into the west.
Autumn's constellations are for the most part faint but hold a bounty of interest no less than a cornucopia of harvest's blessings. Among those stars, you can find the great Andromeda Galaxy with eyes alone (in a dark, moonless sky), and with a small telescope you can track down glorious globular clusters, the star packed haze of the distant Milky Way Band and colourful double stars.
In mid-October, a strong meteor shower  known as the Orionids sends bright streaks across the fall heavens. This year, brilliant planet Jupiter prevails like a champion reigning in the southern sky.

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Autumn has finally arrived, bringing comfortable, mostly cloud-free observing conditions for Arizona star-gazers.
One of the more interesting fall constellations is Capricornus, perhaps the weirdest mythological being ever imagined - part goat, part fish.
The way star charts depict it, though, it looks more like a child's drawing of a boat.

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