October Night Skies
October is prime Jupiter season, visible with bands of clouds and its four moons. Moon would appear above Jupiter at dusk on October 19th and on the 22nd, bright moon will wash out the meteors of the Orion Meteor shower.
Comet Hartley 3 will be easy to spot passing through the constellations Auriga and Gemini this month, viewable even through naked eye (without the Moon). The comet will pass within 0.12 AU of the Earth on October 20 which is only eight days before coming to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on October 28. During this passage, the comet may be visible to the naked eye near Auriga’s open clusters. On the night of October 7 (New Moon), the comet is expected to pass near the Double Cluster in the sky and the open cluster NGC 1528 by October 14. Both in Perseus, and by the end of the month the comet will be visible in the evening without interference from the Moon.
Meanwhile, spectacular deep sky objects to spot on which lie near and around the constellations of Aquarius, Pisces and Aries. Besides the famous and brightest Andromeda Galaxy or M31, near it is M33 or PInwheel Galaxy which lies the Triangulum constellation. Other interesting objects you can find are photos below.
Left photo: NGC 7293, also known as The Helix Nebula or Eye of God, is a large planetary nebula which lies in the constellation of Aquarius about 700 light years away. The age is estimated to be about 10600 years and with an appearance similar to that of the Ring Nebula.
Middle photo: A quite old planetary nebula, NGC 246 or The Skull Nebula, lies in Cetus 2100 light years away.
Right photo: NGC 253 or The Sculptor Galaxy which lies in the center of constellation Sculptor is an intermediate spiral galaxy. Estimated distance at 12.8 million light years away, it is one of the brightest and nearest groups of galaxies to the Milky Way. It can be viewed through binoculars. It is a starburst galaxy which means that it is currently undergoing a period of intense star formation.
Here’s how the night sky would look like about 9 o’clock, 14.6 deg North 121 deg East.