Podcaster: Rob Webb
Title: Observing With Webb in October 2020
Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School
Link: http://mrwebb.podbean.com ;
follow me : @MrWebbPV on Twitter and Instagram
Description: Mars Month! October is pretty awesome this year. Two Full Moons, one on Halloween, four brilliantly positioned planets, the Orionid Meteor Shower, and the opposition of Mars are making October of 2020 a rich month for getting out there and investigating the night sky
Bio: Rob Webb is a physics, astronomy, and sustainability teacher at Pequea Valley High School in Pennsylvania. His passions include teaching, astronomy, astrophotography, planetariums, running, reading, and golf. A proud graduate of Dickinson College in 2005, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Penn State University after conducting research in regards to the current state of planetariums in Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mars Month! October is pretty awesome this year. Two Full Moons, one on Halloween, four brilliantly positioned planets, the Orionid Meteor Shower, and the opposition of Mars are making October of 2020 a rich month for getting out there and investigating the night sky
Welcome to Observing With Webb, where a high school astronomy teacher tells you what you’re looking at, why it’s so cool, and what you should check out later this month…at night.
Sunset – Saturn, Jupiter
· Saturn, Jupiter (S) – Just look South or Southwest before midnight (10:30pm at the end of the month) and find the two really bright points of light fairly close together (less than a fist-width). To find Jupiter, just look for the brightest spot no more than 30˚ above the horizon. Saturn will be about 5˚ to the left. These make a great pair for getting your binoculars and telescopes out. You can see the rings of Saturn and moons of Jupiter fairly easily, and not have to do too much to switch from one planet to the other. In fact, get your practice in now, because on December 21st, these two planets will have a brilliant conjunction!
Throughout the night – Mars
· Mars (EàSàW) – Look East around sunset, south around midnight, and west in the morning for the non-twinkling reddish-orange dot. Reaches opposition this month, so it’s bigger in our telescopes than normal and a good chance to get a look at it. More details in the events section.
Morning – Venus, Mars
· Venus (E) – Venus rises around at 4:30am in the East, and is almost 30˚ above the horizon by sunrise. Bright, brilliant, and gorgeous.
· Mars (W) – Opposite Venus, look west in the morning for the non-twinkling reddish-orange dot.
Full Moon – 1st (Visible all night)
Waning Gibbous (Mostly lit, rises later at night)
Last Quarter Moon – 9th (Visible from midnight into the morning)
Morning Crescents (look East in the AM)
New Moon – 16th (darkest skies)
Evening Crescents (look West after Sunset)
First Quarter Moon – 23rd (Visible until midnight)
Evening Gibbous (Mostly lit, after Sunset)
Full “Blue” Moon – 31st (Visible all night)
2nd – Close Encounter – Moon, Mars – Get out there after 9:30pm and find the Moon with red, ruddy Mars close and bright less than 2˚ away.
6th – 13th – Opposition of Mars – Really, ANY time this month is a great time to see Mars, but opposition is the 13th and closest approach on the 6th. This is when the Earth is “lapping” Mars on the inside track, which happens about every two years or so. Because we’re lapping it, we are closer to it, and thus it is bigger in our telescopes. If all you’ve got is your naked eye, look for the very bright reddish-orange spot. It’ll be rising in the East after 7pm, high in the South around midnight, and setting in the West around sunrise. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you might just be able to catch the disk of Mars, which is a little bit smaller than the disk of Jupiter and about the same size as Saturn right now. If you have some good seeing, you’ll be able to catch the surface markings as well.
13th – 14th – Close Encounter – Moon, Venus – Make sure you have a nice view of the Eastern horizon after 4:30am when they rise. Venus and the Moon should be easy to spot, with Venus being VERY bright, and the Moon being its big beautiful crescent, above Venus on the 13th, and just 5˚ to the left of Venus on the 14th.
20th – 22nd – Orionid Meteor Shower – A decent meteor shower, producing around 15 meteors per hour. Your best chance to see them will be in the morning on the 21st. Get out there between midnight and sunrise, let your eyes get dark adapted (don’t look at your phone), find a nice spot to lie down away from light pollution, be patient, and look at the whole sky, with an understanding that they will be coming from a spot in Orion’s club.
22nd – Close Encounter – Moon, Jupiter, Saturn– Get out after sunset and find the Moon toward the South. Jupiter will be the brightest point nearby, with Saturn to the left of Jupiter and also bright.
29th – Close Encounter – Moon, Mars #2 – Get out there after sunset and find the almost Full Moon in the East with red, ruddy Mars close and bright less than 4˚ above it.
CONSTELLATIONS… Use a sky map from www.skymaps.com to help you out.
The Summer Triangle: Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Delphinus – Look straight up before 8pm and you’ll be able to see Lyra (the Harp), Cygnus (the Swan), Aquila (the Eagle), (and Delphinus the Dolphin.) These three constellations have the three brightest stars of the summer constellations (Vega, Deneb, Altair – respectively.) Those bright stars create the summer triangle. Off to the east of this is the small but beautiful constellation of Delphinus. If you’re under dark skies (away from city lights) you may just catch a glimpse of the Milky Way passing through Cygnus and Aquila.
Fall Constellations: Pegasus & Andromeda – Look pretty much straight up before 10pm and you’ll be able to see the Great Square of Pegasus, with Andromeda curving off of one corner. If your skies are decently dark, you might catch the faint fuzz that is the Andromeda Galaxy.
Orion – Look south to find the vertical bow-tie that is Orion the Hunter. Don’t forget this podcast is found on my Podbean page, Stitcher, and iTunes. There’s also a video version on my YouTube Channel and I can be found on Twitter and Instagram as @mrwebbpv. The Pequea Valley Planetarium and its events and updates are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @pvplanetariu
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
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