The month of October offers a partial lunar eclipse, the full length of which can be observed from Central Europe. However, only six percent of the moon's surface is obscured by the Earth's shadow. Because the full moon only penetrates almost 13 percent of its apparent diameter into the Earth's umbra. The cosmic shadow play begins on Saturday, October 28th at 9:35 p.m. summer time and ends at 10:53 p.m. with the moon's exit from the umbra.
Shortly before and after the umbra phase, the southern calotte of the Moon shows a slight gray haze caused by the Earth's penumbra. The spectacle takes place against the background of the constellation Aries. The exact full moon position occurs at 10:24 p.m. on October 28th.
New moon on October 14th
The moon is far from Earth on the 10th, with 405,425 kilometers separating it from us. New Moon occurs on the 14th at 7:55 p.m. Since the moon shortly afterwards crosses the apparent path of the sun, called the ecliptic, from north to south, an annular solar eclipse occurs. The zone of annular eclipse extends from western North America through Central America and northern South America and ends in the equatorial Atlantic. The maximum duration of the annular phase of five minutes and 17 seconds is reached over Panama. This solar eclipse remains unobservable throughout Europe, even in its partial phases.
Jupiter adorns the evening sky in the constellation Aries. It is then by far the brightest planet and is visible all night long. Only after Venus has risen in the morning sky will the giant planet be surpassed in brightness. On the night of the 1st to the 2nd, the still almost full moon meets the giant planet as it passes north of it.
Saturn can be seen in the first half of the night
Saturn in the constellation Aquarius is also visible in the first half of the night. Although the ringed planet is nowhere near as bright as Jupiter, it is still easy to see with the naked eye. To see Saturn's ring, you need a telescope with at least 30x magnification.
Venus shines as a bright morning star above the eastern horizon. On the 24th it reaches its greatest western angular distance from the sun, experts speak of maximum elongation. There's a nice celestial view on the 10th when the triumvirate of Venus, waning crescent moon and Regulus in Leo can be seen low in the eastern sky around 5am. Venus rises at around 4:30 a.m. at the beginning of October and twenty minutes later at the end of the month.
Mars remains hidden in October
Nimble Mercury ends its morning visibility in the first days of October and then remains invisible. Mars remains hidden in October.
From the 6th to the 10th the Draconid shooting stars appear. They appear to emanate from the constellation of the Dragon. They trace their origin to the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, which is why this meteor shower is also called the Giacobinids. The maximum is expected on October 9th this year.
Almost at the zenith you can see the celestial W, Queen Cassiopeia. The Big Dipper, on the other hand, rolls low along the northern horizon and can easily be missed.
Pegasus takes his place in the south
The large starry square of Pegasus takes its place high in the south. Pegasus is the guiding star of autumn. That's why the Pegasus square is also called the autumn square. According to classical legend, the winged steed Pegasus emerged from the body of the terrible Medusa after Perseus cut off her serpentine head with a single blow of the sword.
The hero Perseus is also represented as a constellation in the autumn sky. The Andromeda star chain adjoins the autumn quadrangle. In the constellation of Andromeda, under good visibility conditions, you can see a faint, elongated spot of light. It is our neighboring Milky Way, the famous Andromeda Galaxy. At a distance of around 2.5 million light years, it is the most distant object that can still be seen with the naked eye.
The giant planet Jupiter shines in Aries
Aries can be seen halfway up in the eastern sky, a small constellation whose three brightest stars form an obtuse triangle. Aries is easy to spot, even though its stars aren't particularly bright. The giant planet Jupiter is currently shining in Aries.
Fomalhaut, the brightest star in the constellation Pisces, shines low in the southern sky. The name comes from Arabic and means something like “mouth of the fish”.
The sun travels on the descending branch of its annual path through the constellation Virgo. On the last day of October it leaves the constellation Virgo and moves into the constellation Libra. The length of the day shrinks by almost two hours in October, and the midday temperature drops by eleven degrees.
Central European Summer Time (CEST) ends on Sunday, October 29, 2023. At three in the morning the clocks go back one hour.