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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."
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
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
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
NGC 488 Galaxy Herschel 400 H252-3
NGC 524 Galaxy Herschel 400 H151-1
NGC 628 Galaxy M74
NGC 676 Galaxy P175
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
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