What's up in the sky October 4-10

Mars continues to dominate the night sky as it draws closer. The International Space Station will also be visible several times including a very bright pass directly over Raleigh on Wednesday.

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Mars Oppositions 1995-2007
Tony Rice
, NASA Ambassador

Sunday October 4

Look for the International Space Station to rise in the northwest at 8:35 p.m. setting two minutes later in the north-northwest.

Monday October 5

SpaceX plans the launch of its thirteenth batch of Starlink satellites at 7:51 am from Cape Canaveral. Launches are streamed live on the SpaceX YouTube channel.

Look for the International Space Station to rise in the north-northwest at 7:38 p.m. setting two minutes later in the east-northeast.

Tuesday October 6

Mars is easy to spot in the evening sky throughout October. Look to the east after sunset for the bright, noticeably orange colored point of light. Mars makes its closest approach to Earth on Tuesday, the closest its been since 2018.  Mars and Earth wont be closer until 2035.

While this happens about every 26 months, because Mars and Earth's orbits aren't perfect circles

Mars will continue to be easy to spot throughout October and will brighten slightly through the middle of the month when it will be exactly opposite the Sun in our sky.

Wednesday October 7

The Museum of Life and Science in Durham offers a program on the relationship between insects and flowers for pre-school scientists at 10 a.m.. Register online for this interactive program and check out the materials list.

The brightest pass of the week for the International Space Station begins at 7:50 p.m. on the west-northwest horizon. It will pass overhead disappearing from view in the southeast as it passes into Earth's shadow.

Thursday October 8

Keep an eye out for meteors from the Draconid meteor shower. The waning gibbous moon will make seeing them a little easier. Unlike more reliable shows like Orionids which peak later this month, the Draconids are a variable shower. While one is not expected this year, there have been outburst such as the one in 2018 where European observers saw several hundred meteors per hour.

Thursday October 9

Tammy Barron of Disney's Animal Kingdom will share her experiences in conservation education at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center's (Virtual) Teen Science Cafe at 4:45 p.m.

The moon will reach last quarter phase at 8:39 pm.


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