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Shadows in the Solar System – INAF MEDIA

Shadows in the Solar System – INAF MEDIA

This month’s skies will delight us with a partial lunar eclipse, as the Earth will cast its shadow on part of the surface of our satellite on the evening of the 28th. Despite the bias of this phenomenon, it will be interesting to follow because the brightness of one side of the Moon will actually be greatly weakened and you will be able to see the Earth’s shadow falling on the Moon. Starting at 9:36 pm, the Earth’s shadow will begin to cover part of the moon until it touches Tycho crater, then ends around 10:53 pm local time.

A simulated partial lunar eclipse on October 28, 2023. Earth’s shadow will touch Tycho Crater, while the brightness of Jupiter in the lower left complements the beauty of the sky.

The maximum eclipse will occur around 10.15pm, when about 12% of the lunar disk will be obscured by our planet’s shadow. Get ready as early as 8pm to watch the Moon enter the penumbra, then wait for the most interesting phase of the eclipse.

Taking a step back in the days of the month, on October 14, there is an annular solar eclipse, unfortunately not visible from Italy. This time the moon will cast its shadow on Earth. An annular eclipse is a special eclipse during which the Sun is obscured by the Moon, but not completely, due to the small size of the Moon because it is at apogee, that is, at the farthest point in its orbit from the Earth. In this particular case, the new moon will be slightly smaller in apparent diameter, and therefore will not completely block the sun, and thus the sun will look like a beautiful ring of fire. observation range, As is clear from this animationconcentrated in the American continent.

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Jupiter and Venus will be the major and very bright planets. The planet Venus is still clearly visible in the morning before dawn, towards the east. On the 22nd, Venus will be divisive, meaning it will appear illuminated as a quarter moon, and on the 24th it will reach its maximum angular distance from the Sun of about 46 degrees. Jupiter is preparing to confront it early next month, and will therefore be clearly visible in the night sky. Therefore, this month is excellent to observe it. Using a small telescope, it is already possible – in addition to following the movement of its four main moons, Io, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa day by day – to estimate the flatness at the poles, which makes the planet somewhat elliptical due to its strength. Rotation on itself in 10 hours.

Saturn will remain clearly visible towards the east with the arrival of the evening, then it will set in the western sky before sunrise, and its visibility will get worse as the days pass, as it sets at the end of the month around one o’clock in the morning. Between October 23 and 24, it will be near a beautiful crescent just after the first quarter.

The shadows of the satellites Io and Ganymende on the surface of Jupiter as they appear on October 20, 2023 in this image obtained with Stellarium.

On the twentieth day of the month, there will be a display of the Chinese shadow on the surface of Jupiter. At 7:38, Io’s shadow will begin to cast itself on the planet, while Ganymede’s shadow will begin to appear at 7:48. Unfortunately, Jupiter will be low on the horizon and bathed in the morning lights, making the show difficult to observe, especially since you will need a good telescope with a diameter of about 10 cm and good binoculars. Vision.

From the evening of October 1 until the morning of October 2, there will be an encounter between the Moon and Jupiter, with the two stars close together in perspective. The apparent angular distance will be just over 3 degrees and both will be visible after rising, after 9 p.m., for the duration of the night. On October 3, the Moon will be close to the Pleiades star cluster M45. The closest approach will be in the morning, when the sky is already clear, but it may be an opportunity to estimate the movement of the Moon relative to the stars by observing the phenomenon from the previous evening. The event will be repeated on the 30th of the month after moonrise, around 6.30 pm local time, and then it can be seen throughout the night until the next morning.

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Don’t miss the view between the moon and Venus. Specifically on October 10, the moon is particularly beautiful because it shows a very thin crescent and Venus is very bright. It will be visible early in the morning before sunrise in the eastern sky.

On October 29, around 2 a.m., there will be a clear encounter between the Moon and Jupiter. However, without getting up too early, it is possible to observe them a little further away on the evening of the 28th. Also in this case, the relative motion of the two stars can be estimated by observing them in the evening and then the next morning. before the sun rise.

We’ve just left the astronomical summer behind us, and so has the summer Milky Way. Traces of the summer sky can still be seen just after dusk, after sunset, but the typical autumnal constellations begin to take over. A square juts out to the south Pegasus And a constellation Andromeda. As well as the M31 galaxy, or the large Andromeda galaxy. If you are far from the city lights it will not be difficult to observe them even with the naked eye or binoculars.

On the other side, but not visible to the naked eye, you’ll find the Triangle Galaxy, or M33 in the Messier catalog. On the other hand, with the summer galactic plane no longer obscuring the view of the distant universe, other galaxies began to emerge, each containing billions of stars and other potential worlds.

towards the northern sky, Perseus Cassiopeia will be increasingly higher on the horizon, as will the double cluster of Perseus. This celestial body can also be seen with the naked eye, and will certainly become visible with binoculars.

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Watch Fabrizio Villa’s video guide to observing the October sky: