The sky, October 15-21: Jupiter dominates the East late evenings

Special to, October 16, 2023, 2023

Excerpts from weekly Sky&Telescope report.


■ Now that it’s mid-October, Deneb has replaced Vega as the zenith star after nightfall (for skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes).


■ The Great Square of Pegasus is now high in the east-southeast after dark.

Jupiter and Io imaged Sean Walker on the morning of Oct. 5, while Io was entering eclipse by Jupiter’s shadow. South is up. This image is so high-resolution that Io’s disk is clearly resolved as half-lit. / Sky&Telescope


■ Look for bright Capella sparkling low in the northeast these evenings. Look for the Pleiades cluster about three fists at arm’s length to its right. These harbingers of the cold months rise higher as evening grows late. Watch for Aldebaran to come up below the Pleiades.

Upper right of Capella, and upper left of the Pleiades, the stars of Perseus lie astride the Milky Way.


■ This is the time of year when soon after nightfall, W-shaped Cassiopeia stands on end (its fainter end) halfway up the northeastern sky.


■ By late evening the Great Square of Pegasus is getting very high in the southeast  and it’s tilting clockwise off of one corner to lie more level like a square.


■ The Moon, a day short of first quarter, shines low in the south right at the end of twilight.


■ First-quarter Moon (exact at 11:29 p.m. EDT).

■ The Orionid meteor shower should be near its peak tonight. The good Orionid-watching hours are from about 1 a.m. to the first light of dawn Sunday morning. The Moon will have set. This shower is a modest one; in a very dark sky you might see 8 or 10 meteors per hour. The shower’s radiant is in the east at Orion’s dim club, between Betelgeuse and the feet of Gemini.

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