This Halloween, you can give your trick-or-treaters a treat they won’t soon forget! The Moon will be a waxing gibbous on Halloween night; if you have a telescope, this will be the perfect opportunity to let countless numbers of kids and their parents have a glimpse of the Moon through your telescope. I guarantee you will get a lot of “Oh WOWs!” Saturn is also very low in the southwestern sky after sunset, and is only visible for about an hour. The Moon will be full on Nov. 3rd.
Venus, barely above the eastern horizon, rises with the light of dawn. Mars rises in the east around 6:00 AM, and is high in the eastern sky by sunrise. Mars will continue to rise earlier each morning, but it won’t be getting any higher in the morning sky; it will move slightly south each morning instead, as the Earth slowly “catches up to Mars” in their orbits (see solar system image below). Mars is in for a couple interesting conjunctions with Jupiter and Saturn in a few months, and the Earth and Mars will be at opposition in August of next year, making it a great observing target – stay tuned!
The Southwestern sky before sunrise is just awash with beauty! The Milky Way, Orion, Betelgeuse, Sirius, Rigel, Taurus, Aldebaran, the Pleiades – make sure you go out and have a look before sunrise!
The Sun has two small sunspots that are fading away; images from the SDO’s Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) show a virtually featureless, boring disk (as it should be when nearing the solar minimum).
The coronal hole I’ve mentioned for a few weeks has migrated to the Sun’s southern hemisphere. Spaceweather.com says: “Solar wind flowing from a southern hole in the sun’s atmosphere could reach Earth on Nov. 2nd;” polar auroras and magnetic unrest are likely.
You can view the Sun in multiple frequencies, in near real-time here: SDO-The Sun Now
The Inner Solar System
This is the position of the planets in the inner solar system using NASA Eyes on the Solar System.