It looks set to be a stellar month for stargazers up and down Britain, with some of the best astronomical events taking place over the coming weeks.

From three stunning meteor showers and a Blue Moon to an out-of-this-world view of Mars, October is set to be epic month for show-stopping celestial events.

There will be as many as nine dazzling displays to look forward to – making it the busiest month for astronomical events in 2020.

Best of all, most will be easy to spot in the sky without needing to fork out for high-tech cameras or telescopes.

On this night, the moon will be fully illuminated as it appears on the opposite side of the earth as the sun, resulting in a full moon.

Early native American tribes called it ‘hunters moon’ because game would be fat and ready to hunt around this time of year.

For your best chance of seeing it, wait until its fully dark outside, and if you can, head to an area with little light pollution.

During this time Mercury will reach its greatest western elongation of 25.8 degrees from the sun.

This will be the best opportunity to see the planet as it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky.

The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other showers.

It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900.

Best viewing will be in the early evening from a dark location far away from artificial lighting.

The red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun.

It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long.

You should even be able to see some of the dark details on the planet’s orange surface with a medium-sized telescope.

During a new moon, the moon and sun have the same elliptical longitude, meaning the lunar disk is not visible from earth.

As there is no moonlight interference, this is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters.

The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak.

It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times.

The Orionids is an running minor shower producing up to 5-10 meteors per hour at its peak.

Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from any light pollution, particularly as the near full moon will make it slightly harder to spot them.

Since this will be the second full moon in the same month, it is usually referred to as a blue moon.

On this night, the moon will be fully illuminated as it appears on the opposite side of the earth as the sun, resulting in a full moon.

This rare calendar event only occurs every few months, giving rise to the term “once in a blue moon”.

On this date, the planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun.

It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long.

It will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.

Source: https://www.lancs.live/whats-on/whats-on-news/top-astronomical-events-look-forward-19028793

Meteor shower, Meteoroid, Orionids, Star, Blue moon, Month

World news – GB – Top astronomical events to look forward to in October 2020

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