Astronomical Highlights for the week.

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Highlights

  • Halloween night:
    • Remind trick-or-treaters to bring a flashlight! Halloween night will be moonless with the last quarter moon setting early that afternoon and rising after midnight.
    • Mars will be the most prominent planet in the sky that night, about 30 degrees above the horizon. Saturn will be low in the southwest.
    • The “Summer Triangle” stars of Deneb, Altair and bright Vega will be visible in the southwest as well.
  • Notable launches this week:
    • The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans a launch of the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite 2 (GOSAT 2) as well as a Earth imaging satellite Oct 29 12:08-12:20 am EDT
    • Russia plans a cargo flight to the International Space Station on Oct 30 at 8:53 pm. The Soyuz successfully returned to flight on October 25 lifting a military satellite into orbit. Results of the investigation into the Oct 11 crewed launch abort are expected on Oct 30 as well.
  • Wed Oct 31 12:40:18: last quarter moon
  • Wed Nov 07 11:02:03: new moon

 

Near Earth Objects (NEO)

lunar distance (LD) is the mean distance to the moon ~239k miles. Anything within 1 LD is newsworthy. For more information see NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies

This week

object

close approach date

uncertainty

LD

million
miles

475534

2018-10-29 11:59Z

< 1 sec

7.5

<2

2018 UC

2018-10-30 17:33Z

< 1 sec

5.4

~1.55

2018 UY1

2018-11-04 21:25Z

~1 hour

7.4

<2

2002 VE68

2018-11-04 21:44Z

< 1 sec

14.6

~3.55

2018 TF3

2018-11-05 18:00Z

< 1 sec

7.8

<2

2010 VQ

2018-11-07 14:24Z

<3 days

15.6

~4

Closest

within

object

close approach date

uncertainty

lunar distances

million
miles

~14 days

2018 UC

2018-10-30 17:33Z

< 1 sec

5.4

~1.55

~1 year

2015 EG

2019-03-04 20:52Z

1+ hour

1.2

~0.55

~100 years

2010 RF12

2095-09-06 00:03Z

<2 hours

0.1

~15,290.55 miles

Planet visibility

body (phase)

rise

transit (alt)

set

constellation

Mercury (76%)

09:40:27

14:23:01 (27??)

19:05:00

Libra

Venus (0%)

07:29:38

12:30:01 (32??)

17:31:03

Virgo

Moon (72%)

21:33:51

05:07:18 (70??)

12:42:14

Gemini

Mars

15:11:41

20:13:34 (32??)

01:16:44

Capricornus

Saturn

12:23:02

17:01:48 (27??)

21:44:10

Sagittarius

Jupiter

09:30:23

14:24:42 (31??)

19:18:57

Libra

Sample rise/set times for 10/29/18

Satellite Passes

This information is best used to identify passes worth sharing or skipping. Those nearest overhead are closest, brightest, and longest. Check dates and times for each pass before your share.

International Space Station (ISS)

  • fair pass begins Sun 2018-10-28 07:07:53 EDT from the WSW (257°) reaches 41°, lasts 6 minutes
  • poor pass exits Earth’s shadow 11° above the horizon Tue 2018-10-30 07:01:06 EDT from the WNW (283°) reaches 23°, lasts 5 minutes
  • below trees pass exits Earth’s shadow 11° above the horizon Thu 2018-11-01 06:54:38 EDT from the NW (309°) reaches 16°, lasts 3 minutes
  • below trees pass begins Sat 2018-11-03 06:47:50 EDT from the NW (325°) reaches 13°, lasts 3 minutes
  • below trees pass begins Mon 2018-11-05 05:40:55 EST from the NNW (337°) reaches 12°, lasts 2 minutes
  • below trees pass begins Tue 2018-11-06 06:25:17 EST from the NNW (334°) reaches 16°, lasts 4 minutes

Atmospheric drag and other factors can and does cause orbits to change. See the European Space Agency supported Heavens Above for the latest pass predictions. Satellite pass gradings are based on altitude reached and duration of the pass. Higher altitude passes are closer to the observer and generally brighter as a result. Satellites other than ISS are much more difficult to spot.

Moon Phases

date

phase

Wed 2018-10-31 12:40:18

last quarter

Wed 2018-11-07 11:02:03

new

Thu 2018-11-15 09:54:11

first quarter

Fri 2018-11-23 00:39:12

full

Sun

Sunrise/set

Date

Rise

Solar noon (alt)

Set

sunlight

Mon 2018-10-29

07:40

12:57 (35.93??)

18:14

10 hrs 33 min

Tue 2018-10-30

07:41

12:57 (35.60??)

18:13

10 hrs 31 min

Wed 2018-10-31

07:42

12:57 (35.28??)

18:12

10 hrs 29 min

Thu 2018-11-01

07:44

12:57 (34.96??)

18:10

10 hrs 26 min

Fri 2018-11-02

07:45

12:57 (34.64??)

18:09

10 hrs 24 min

Sat 2018-11-03

07:46

12:57 (34.33??)

18:08

10 hrs 22 min

Sun 2018-11-04

06:47

11:57 (34.02??)

17:07

10 hrs 19 min

Mon 2018-11-05

06:48

11:57 (33.72??)

17:06

10 hrs 17 min

Tue 2018-11-06

06:49

11:57 (33.42??)

17:05

10 hrs 15 min

Wed 2018-11-07

06:51

11:57 (33.12??)

17:04

10 hrs 13 min

  • lost 0:20:52 (hh:mm:ss) of daylight over this period
  • daylight (HH:MM): 10:22
  • mean: sunrise 07:22 sunset 17:45
  • max: sun angle 35.93??

Twilight

date

rise

set

Mon 2018-10-29

06:06

19:47

Tue 2018-10-30

06:07

19:46

Wed 2018-10-31

06:08

19:45

Thu 2018-11-01

06:09

19:44

Fri 2018-11-02

06:10

19:43

Sat 2018-11-03

06:11

19:41

Sun 2018-11-04

05:12

18:41

Mon 2018-11-05

05:13

18:40

Tue 2018-11-06

05:14

18:39

Wed 2018-11-07

05:15

18:38

Covers Mon 2018-10-29 01:00 through Thu 2018-11-08 01:00 . Calculations are for Altoona, PA (40.4780,-78.4213) at an elevation of 341 m and are expressed in local (US/Eastern) time and a 24-hour clock.

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