1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

October 2009 Monthly Sky Guide


Learn what is happening in October 2009 and what has happened in October in the past. Discover highlights of the night sky and learn what to look for in October 2009.

October Highlight - Morning "Stars"

Ceres Pictures Gallery - Hubble Images of Asteroids Help Astronomers Prepare for Spacecraft Visit
NASA; ESA; McFadden, Li; Mutchler, Levay; Thomas; Parker, Young; Russell, Schmidt
October will be a good month for you early risers out there. (That's not me.) You'll only find Jupiter in the night skies before midnight this month, but it will still be spectacular. The Red Planet, Mars, will rise around 1 AM and should provide a great viewing opportunity. A bit later, our sister planet, Venus comes up in all her beauty. If you look just below Venus you should be able to spot Mercury early in the month, especially when it reaches greatest elongation on the 5th and 6th. Even lower and harder to spot will be Saturn. If you capture it with your telescope, don't be surprise if you don't see any rings as they are mostly edge-on right now. Finally, for a new treat, look for the asteroid Vesta on the 22nd.

October Skymap

2009 Skymaps - October 2009 Skymap
Nick Greene
Check out this map for the month of October, or create your own customized map with our Free Sky Maps tool.

Note: This map is for a median time and location and October have slight differences from your location and viewing time. Planets and moons shown on this map will have the highest probability of appearing in different locations.

Use this handy Sky Map Symbols Key to figure out what you should be looking for.

Events in October

Ceres Pictures Gallery - Color View of Ceres
Check out our Astronomical Events Calendar to learn about other happenings in space and on Earth. Here is a sampling of highlights.
  • 1 - NASA's 51st Birthday (1958)
  • 1 - Soyuz TMA-16 Soyuz FG Launch (International Space Station 20S)
  • 4-10 - World Space Week
  • 5 - Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation
  • 9 - Draconids Meteor Shower Peak
  • 12 - Cassini, Titan Flyby
  • 21 - Orionids Meteor Shower Peak
  • 30 - 10th Anniversary (1999), Discovery of the Los Angeles Meteorite (Mars Meteorite)
  • 31 - Asteroid Ceres in Conjunction With Sun

Featured Constellation - Crater

Nick Greene
This month, the constellation Crater can be seen high in the sky. Let's take a closer look at Crater.
  • The Goblet
  • Genitive: Crateris
  • Abbreviations: Crt, Crat
  • Right Ascension, (h): 11
  • Declination, (deg): 15S

Featured Biography - Clifton C. Williams, Jr.

Born September 26, 1932, in Mobile, AL, Clifton C. Williams, Jr. was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963. He served as backup pilot for the Gemini 10 mission and worked in the areas of launch operations and crew safety. Major Williams died on October 5, 1967, near Tallahassee, Florida, in the crash of a T-38 jet.

This Month in History

11 Inch NASA Meatball Patch
Check every day to learn what happened "This Day in History."
  • 1: 1958 - First official day of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • 4: 1957_ the USSR launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1.
  • 18: 1989 - Galileo - USA & Europe Jupiter Orbiter/Atmospheric Probe launched.
  • 22: 1905 - Karl Guthe Jansky, inventor of radio astronomy, born in Norman, Oklahoma.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.