Jupiter outshines everyone: October brings a partial solar eclipse

Jupiter outshines all stars and planets in October.

Jupiter outshines everyone: October brings a partial solar eclipse

Jupiter outshines all stars and planets in October. Mars is also shining brighter and brighter. The sun and moon offer a special spectacle in the daytime sky.

The prominent celestial event in October is a partial solar eclipse on October 25th. It can be observed from all over Germany in the early noon. The new moon phase occurs at 12:49 p.m. As the Moon crosses the Sun's apparent orbit from North to South the following day, it brushes the Sun's disk and covers a few percent of its area. The next solar eclipse that can be observed from Germany will not take place until March 29, 2025.

There's a lot going on in the night sky. With the onset of darkness, which is now setting in earlier and earlier, brightly shining Jupiter can already be seen high in the east. The giant planet wanders through the constellation of Pisces and surpasses all stars and planets in brightness. Jupiter begins to retreat from the morning sky. On October 8th, the giant planet receives a visit from the almost full moon.

Saturn in the constellation Capricorn is the planet of the first half of the night. The ringed planet sets shortly before 3 a.m. on the 1st, at the end of October already a quarter of an hour before midnight. During the night from the 5th to the 6th, the waxing moon will pass around four degrees south of Saturn.

Mars in the constellation of Taurus rises just before 10 p.m. at the beginning of the month and a few minutes after 7 p.m. at the end of the month. The freezing cold desert planet is strongly increasing in brightness. Only Jupiter and Sirius surpass the red planet in brilliance.

Venus has ended her morning star period. She follows the sun in the zodiac. On October 22, it catches up with the Sun in the constellation Virgo near the Libra border. Seen from Earth, it will then be behind the Sun, but not exactly: It will pass the Sun by about two full moon latitudes to the north. This corresponds to twice the sun's diameter. This constellation is called the "upper conjunction" in astronomical jargon. Venus reaches its greatest distance from Earth at 257 million kilometers. After the 22nd, Venus' eastern angular distance from the Sun slowly increases. Venus will be visible in the western evening sky soon after sunset in December. This begins their evening star period, which lasts until the end of July 2023.

Mercury offers the most favorable morning visibility of the whole year in October. The best time to spot the closest and smallest planet to the sun is between October 10th and 16th. On the 10th, the nimble planet rises ten minutes before 6 a.m. Until the 16th the Mercury rises will be delayed by half an hour. Just before 7 a.m. the planet fades in the morning light.

Mercury needs just under three months to orbit the sun once. Its cratered rock surface heats up to over 400 degrees during the day. During the 88-day Mercury night, the temperature drops to minus 180 degrees. Mercury has neither water nor an atmosphere. Mercury moves in a highly elliptical orbit. It can get as close as 46 million kilometers to the sun, which is only 39 percent of the distance between the sun and the earth. Farther away from the sun, Mercury is 70 million kilometers from the sun.

The Celestial W, Queen Cassiopeia, can be seen high in the northeast. The middle tip of the star W roughly points to Polaris. The Big Dipper can be spotted far to the north, near the horizon. The polar star marks the end of the pole of the Little Dipper. The Little Dipper is much harder to spot than the Big Dipper, not because it's smaller, but because its stars are much dimmer than those of the Big Dipper.

The Autumn Square is high in the south. It's called Pegasus Square because it forms the centerpiece of the Pegasus constellation. Pegasus is a winged horse that is supposed to help poets to fly their imaginations. In Pegasus there is a star called Helvetios. In 1995, a planet outside of our solar system was discovered for the first time. Dimidium, as it was called, orbits its parent Sun in just four days. Helvetios and its planet are 50 light years from Earth.

At the northeast corner of the Autumn Square hangs the chain of stars of Andromeda. According to mythology, Princess Andromeda is the daughter of the vain Queen Cassiopeia. In good visibility conditions, the Andromeda galaxy can be seen as a faint patch of light with the naked eye. It is our neighboring galaxy, which is made up of around 400 billion suns. The light from these suns is on its way to us for two and a half million years. South of Andromeda is the small but memorable constellation Aries. It is mainly composed of three stars forming an obtuse triangle.

The sun moves along the descending branch of its annual path. The midday height decreases by eleven degrees, the length of the day shrinks. Summer time ends on October 30th. The clocks must be set back at 3:00 a.m. CEST to 2:00 a.m. CET. So you can snooze an hour longer.

Central European Time is the mean solar time of the meridian 15 degrees east of the Prime Meridian, which passes through the old Greenwich Observatory near London. The mean solar time of the prime meridian is considered universal time (Universal Time Coordinated = UTC). The outdated designation Greenwich Mean (Solar) Time (GMT) is no longer in use.

Full Moon is reached at 10:55 p.m. on the 9th, with the Moon in the constellation of Pisces. Our neighbor in space comes close to earth twice. On the 4th, 369,325 kilometers separate him from us, on the 29th only 368,290 kilometers. On the 17th, the moon passes its orbital point furthest from Earth. The distance between the earth and the moon is 404,328 kilometers on this day.

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