By Neill Simmons
The highlight of October is the “Ring of Fire Eclipse of the Sun” on Saturday, October 14. It begins at 8:05 am and peaks between 9:19 am and 9:23 am. All of the Americas will be able to see a partial eclipse but only in eight states will it be possible to see the Ring of Fire Eclipse. The Ring of Fire is caused when the Moon doesn’t completely cover the face of the sun so that the sun appears to have a single ring of light surrounding it.
Here in California we will see about 75% of the event. It is very important to have the best eye protection with “ISO” certified eclipse shades. Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope will have a professional solar telescope set up outside their shop at 5348 Topanga Blvd for free viewing of this event. Call (818) 347-2270 with any questions.
FUN FACT: A lunar eclipse always occurs within two weeks of a solar eclipse. The next lunar eclipse occurs on October 28, but it will be seen in Europe.
The giant planet Jupiter is brilliant in the east after 8:30 pm. View with binoculars as it rises each night and see its four biggest moons. Every year more moons are discovered orbiting Jupiter, now the count is up to 92 moons!
The planet Saturn is in the southeast each night and is not as bright as Jupiter, however, it can be seen with the naked eye. Saturn is the champ with over 146 moons! NASA is planning to send another probe to Titan, its biggest moon. Titan is bigger than the planet Mercury. On another mission a probe will go to the surface of Saturn’s small moon called Enceladus, which has an ocean under a thick icy shell.
Look west after dark on the 16th and 17th, when the thin crescent Moon rises. The giant red star Antares will be near the Moon and will make for a great sight. Antares is the main star in the constellation of Scorpius.
Look east on the night of October 21 to see four stars that form a “Giant Square.”
This is the constellation “Pegasus, the Flying Horse.” On that Saturday night a few meteors will be coming out of this area as the “Orionids Meteor Shower” will be occurring.
Good news for October 31 – the Moon on Halloween night will be almost full to help our little trick or treaters on their candy quest!
DAWN PATROL: October is a treat for all who like to see a dark morning sky. The planet Venus is putting on quite a show so take a look in the east. Make an effort on the morning of Tuesday, the 10th, to go out and see the crescent Moon, as it will appear to be near Venus in the pre-dawn sky.
Vandenberg SFB plans to launch a rocket on Saturday, October 7 just after midnight at 12:06 am. The launch window goes to 4:25 am. As always these times can be changed at the last minute. Check their website as well as Space X’s website.
When not stargazing, Neill Simmons is a Wealth Advisor with LPL Financial in Woodland Hills. If you have any astronomy or financial questions, he may be reached at (818) 936-2626 or emailed at neill.simmons@lpl. com.