O C T O B E R S K Y W A T C H
by Maya del Mar
Our planet show this month is in the morning skies. Golden Saturn rises early, and still sits close to the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux, close to those great constellations of Taurus and Orion, now high in the sky in the early morning.
Bright Venus and Jupiter are close to one another, and rise later, bravely shining out in the morning dawn. Venus and Jupiter will be spectacular on November 4, as they join one another. By the end of the month, Mars may be visible in the morning sky as it just clears the horizon.
There are two meteor showers in October. The Draconids are easier to spot, for they occur on October 10, when the moon is dark. Look for them before midnight in the northwest area of the sky.
The Orionids occur on the nights of October 21-22. These are more difficult to see because the sky is lit with moonlight on those nights. They will be occurring in the southwest sky very early in the morning.
The drama of the month is the Total Lunar Eclipse, whose center occurs at 3:04 a.m. GMT on October 28. This equates to 11:04 p.m. EST. Wherever it is night, the eclipse can be seen, even if only the beginning or the end. It lasts for 6 hours, from 0:05 a.m. GMT to 6:03 a.m. GMT. The full moon always rises in the east as the sun sets in the west. The moon is above us at midnight local time, and sets in the west in the morning as the sun rises.
Check out the time in your location, and you can tell where in the sky to look. For instance, in the Pacific Standard Time Zone, the Eclipse begins at 5:00 p.m., centers at 8:00 p.m., and finishes at 11:00 p.m. Sun sets around 5:00 p.m., when the Eclipse begins, which means it begins as the Moon rises in the east. However, the eclipse probably wont be noticeable until the sky darkens a bit more.
The Total Lunar Eclipse sets the tone for the U.S. presidential election. It signifies big change as a result of that election. Read more about this in the entry for 10/27 in the Daily Success Guide.
Talk about impacta Total Lunar Eclipse in the season of the Day of the Dead! And in Scorpio, the sign of life and death. And close to a presidential election which feels like a life-and-death situation, with our democracy at stake. This is the fifteenth presidential election in which Ive voted, and never has one come even this close to feeling so vital for the future of the U.S., and the world as well.
This is the third time in a year and a half that we have seen a total lunar eclipse over the United States. Some of us have marveled at how quickly things are moving here. Well, give the eclipses credit. Eclipses do change circumstances on a wide scale, as well as a personal one. And although an eclipse affects the world, the areas where it can be seen are most strongly affected.
As well as in North America, this Lunar Eclipse on October 27-28 can also be seen in South America, Europe, western Africa, and the Middle East.
The Eclipse begins on the East Coast at 8 p.m. EDT, but it will be about one-half hour before viewers can see the edge of the moon darken. It will appear high in the southeast sky, with the Pleiades and reddish Aldebaran the closest bright objects, both a bit lower and to the left.
We see the darkening begin on the left edge of the moon, and as we watch, the bright moon becomes hidden in the shadow of the sun. The color then becomes deep orange. Totality lasts for 80 minutes. It begins at 10:25 p.m. EDT, and lasts until 11:45 p.m. (These times are four hours behind UT or GMT, as noted elsewhere in this issue.)
The Eclipse completely ends at 2:03 a.m. EDT. Watch it while you can. The next total lunar eclipse wont come until March 2007.
The partial Solar Eclipse on October 13-14 is a north polar eclipse. In Anchorage, Alaska, it begins at 5:55 p.m. local time, and maximum eclipse occurs near sunset. The sun will set as a crescent in the western sky, with 75% of its circle blocked by the moon, at 6:40 p.m. A similar situation occurs in Hawaii, but about 20 minutes later, and with less of the sun covered.
Never look directly at the sun in any solar eclipse, or ever.