O C T O B E R S K Y W A T C H
by Maya del Mar
Big orange Mars still dominates the southern night skies, even though it is diminishing in size and brightness. It is still brighter than it will be at any time before 2018. Just after Mars turns direct, it moves very slowly, so its position is not changing much during October. Mars remains visible in the night sky until next summer. It will still be carrying the Piscean vibration, which I see as a spiritual mandate for us earthlings. We can look at Mars in the sky, and ponder how we can shift to becoming spiritual warriors rather than warriors in earthly battles. Many are now moving in this pathway.
Venus is still hidden in the evening twilight, but as we move through the month, it will begin to emerge. Check for the evening star with binoculars about a half hour after sunset.
Mercury begins October in the midst of its best morning appearance in 2003but that is not saying much. The elusive messenger remains close to the horizon, and is always hard to spot. However, on October 1 it rises 85 minutes before the sun at mid-northern latitudes. Look for it then during the first few days of October. After that it will be consumed by the suns light. Mercury stands out as a yellow dot against the orange dawn.
Late at night, as Mars sets in the southwest, Saturn rises in the east. Saturn rises about midnight on October 1. It has joined the stars Castor and Pollux, the Gemini Twins, but outshines them noticeably. Saturns rings are beginning to flatten, a process which is completed in 2009, when we can only view them on edge.
Saturn and the winter constellations of Taurus, Orion, and Canis Major are high in the sky when Jupiter rises, around 4 a.m. local daylight time. Jupiter shines so brightly that it remains easy to see until just before sunrise.
Moon will pass Mars on October 5, Saturn on October 17, and Jupiter on October 21.