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Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of October 2018

Posted by Guy Pirro   10/09/2018 04:41PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of October 2018

The Heart and Soul Nebulas are two bright emission nebulas that can be found in Cassiopeia. The Heart Nebula (IC 1805), on the right, has a shape reminiscent of a classical heart symbol. The Soul Nebula (IC 1848) is on the left. Both nebulas shine brightly in the red light of energized hydrogen. Several young open clusters of stars populate the image and are visible in blue, including the nebula centers. Light takes about 6000 years to reach us from these nebulas, which together span roughly 300 light years. Studies of stars and clusters like those found in the Heart and Soul Nebulas have focused on how massive stars form and how they affect their environment. (Credits: NASA and the Office of Public Outreach – STScI, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - JPL) (Image Credit: Richard Powell, Digitized Sky Survey, Palomar Observatory, STScI)



Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of October 2018

Welcome to the night sky report for October 2018 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. Look for Pegasus, the great winged horse of Greek mythology, prancing across the autumn night sky. Binoculars and small telescopes will reveal the glowing nucleus and spiral arms of our neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy. Don’t miss the Orionid meteor shower, which peaks on the night of October 21 to 22.The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Planets begin to depart the evening sky as chilly October winds blow.

Mars and Saturn still dominate the southern sky, Mars in Capricornus and Saturn in Sagittarius. A modest telescope reveals the rings orbiting Saturn.

The waxing moon travels between the two in the middle of the month.

The orange disk of Mars decreases in size and its features fade from view as its distance from Earth increases over the course of the month.

Pegasus, the great winged horse of Greek mythology, prances across the autumn night sky. His body is denoted by a large area of stars known as the “Great Square.” Pegasus hosts 51-Pegasi, the first Sun-like star known to have an extra-solar planet.

The brightest corner of the Great Square, Alpheratz, is also the brightest star in the constellation Andromeda. In Greek mythology, this princess was chained to a rock near the sea to appease a sea monster. Within Andromeda’s boundaries, look for M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, an island of billions of stars. On a clear, dark night it appears as a faint smudge of light. Approximately 2.5 million light-years away, M31 is the closest spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy and the most distant object you can see with your eyes alone. Binoculars and small telescopes reveal M31’s glowing nucleus and spiral arms. A smaller companion galaxy, M110, appears as a faint spot near the large galaxy. The Andromeda Galaxy is slowly pulling in, and will eventually consume, another one of its small companion galaxies, M32.




The Orionid meteor shower peaks on the night of October 21 to 22. However, the bright light of the nearly full moon may wash out all but the brightest meteors. After midnight, look to the east where the constellation Orion is rising. Every few minutes you may spy a tiny remnant of Halley’s Comet burning up high in the atmosphere.

The night sky is always a celestial showcase. Explore its wonders from your own backyard.




The following Deep Sky Objects are found in constellations that peak during the month. Some can be viewed with a small telescope, but the majority will require a moderate to large telescope. The following is adapted from my personal viewing list: "The Guy Pirro 777 Best and Brightest Deep Sky Objects."


Constellation: Andromeda

NGC 205                      Galaxy                         M110 Herschel 400 H18-5 Satellite of Andromeda

NGC 221                      Galaxy                         M32 Satellite of Andromeda

NGC 224                      Galaxy                         M31 Andromeda Galaxy

NGC 404                      Galaxy                         Herschel 400 H224-2

NGC 752                      Open Cluster                C28, Herschel 400 H32-7

NGC 891                      Galaxy                         C23, Herschel 400 H19-5

NGC 956                      Open Cluster                P123

NGC 7640                    Galaxy                         P218

NGC 7662                    Planetary Nebula           C22, Herschel 400 H18-4 Blue Snowball Nebula

NGC 7686                    Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H69-8


Constellation: Cassiopeia

IC 10                            Galaxy                        P77

IC 59                           Diffuse Nebula              P21 - Gamma Cassiopeiae Nebula (West)

IC 63                            Diffuse Nebula             P22 – Gamma Cassiopeiae Nebula (East)

IC 166                          Open Cluster               P217

IC 1795                        Diffuse Nebula              P122

IC 1805                        Emission Nebula           P2 Heart Nebula

IC 1848                        Emission Nebula           P3 Soul Nebula

IC 1871                        Diffuse Nebula              P136

NGC 103                      Open Cluster                P137

NGC 129                      Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H79-8

NGC 133                      Open Cluster                P138

NGC 136                      Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H35-6

NGC 146                      Open Cluster                P204

NGC 147                      Galaxy                         C17 Satellite of Andromeda

NGC 185                      Galaxy                         C18, Herschel 400 H707-2 Satellite of Andromeda

NGC 189                      Open Cluster                P5

NGC 225                      Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H78-8 Sailboat Cluster

NGC 278                      Galaxy                         Herschel 400 H159-1

NGC 281                      Emission Nebula            P4 Pacman Nebula

NGC 381                      Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H64-8

NGC 436                      Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H45-7

NGC 457                      Open Cluster                C13, Herschel 400 H42-1 Owl Cluster

NGC 559                      Open Cluster                C8, Herschel 400 H48-7

NGC 581                      Open Cluster                M103

NGC 609                      Open Cluster                P219

NGC 637                      Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H49-7

NGC 654                      Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H46-7

NGC 659                      Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H65-8

NGC 663                      Open Cluster                C10, Herschel 400 H31-6

NGC 1027                    Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H66-8

NGC 7635                    Diffuse Nebula              C11 Bubble Nebula

NGC 7654                    Open Cluster                M52

NGC 7788                    Open Cluster                P139

NGC 7789                    Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H30-6 White Rose Cluster

NGC 7790                    Open Cluster                Herschel 400 H56-7

NGC 7795                    Open Cluster                P23


Constellation: Pegasus

NGC 7078                    Globular Cluster            M15

NGC 7217                    Galaxy                         Herschel 400 H207-2

NGC 7331                    Galaxy                         C30, Herschel 400 H53-1

NGC 7448                    Galaxy                         Herschel 400 H251-2

NGC 7457                    Galaxy                         P173

NGC 7479                    Galaxy                         C44, Herschel 400 H55-1

NGC 7814                    Galaxy                         C43


Constellation: Pisces

NGC 488                      Galaxy                         Herschel 400 H252-3

NGC 524                      Galaxy                         Herschel 400 H151-1

NGC 628                      Galaxy                         M74

NGC 676                      Galaxy                         P175


Constellation: Sculptor

NGC 55                        Galaxy                         C72

NGC 134                      Galaxy                         P116

NGC 253                      Galaxy                         C65, Herschel 400 H1-5 Sculptor Galaxy

NGC 288                      Globular Cluster            Herschel 400 H20-6

NGC 300                      Galaxy                         C70

NGC 613                      Galaxy                         Herschel 400 H281-1

NGC 7507                    Galaxy                          P117

     - NGC 7513             Galaxy                              - Paired with P117

NGC 7793                    Galaxy                          P61



For more information:

Northern Latitudes:


Equatorial Latitudes:


Southern Latitudes:



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