Society News and Night Sky Notes – October 2000

Society News Headlines

  • Oct 5th: Comet Brorsen at Perihelion.(0.586AU)
  • Oct 6th: Moon at apogee.
  • Oct 6th: Mercury at greatest elongation 26° East. (Not seen from Liverpool).
  • Oct 7th: Neptune 1.3° North of Moon.
  • Oct 8th: Uranus 1.5° North of Moon.
  • Oct 9th: Draconids (Giacobinids) meteor shower max.
  • Oct 9th: Pallas in conjunction with the Sun.
  • Oct 12th: Comet C/2000 K2 Linear at perihelion (2.431AU).
  • Oct 14th: International Solar Eclipse Conference – Elzenveld, Antwerp Belgium.(Ends Oct 15th).
  • Oct 15th: Neptune stationary.
  • Oct 16th: Saturn 1.6° North of Moon.
  • Oct 17th: Jupiter 2° North of Moon.
  • Oct 18th: Mercury stationary.
  • Oct 19th: Moon at perigee.
  • Oct 20th: Orionids meteor shower max.
  • Oct 20th: LAS monthly meeting at RC Catheral Crypt Concert Room at 7pm.
  • Oct 21st: Jupiter 5° North of Aldebaran.
  • Oct 24th: Mars 3° South of Moon.
  • Oct 25th: BAA Annual General Meeting – Saville Row, London at 17:45.
  • Oct 26th: Venus 3° North of Antares.
  • Oct 26th: Uranus stationary.
  • Oct 28th: British Summer Time Ends (28th/29th).
  • Oct 30th: Venus 4° North of Moon.
  • Oct 30th: Mercury at inferior conjunction with Sun.
  • Oct 31st: Asteroid 4179 Toutatis in near-Earth flyby (0.074AU).


Will it be cloudy to-night?, ask the The U.K. Goverment Met Office Weather service. To make your own star chart fo your location at any time, Click Here.

The Sun and Moon

All times are in BRITISH SUMMER TIME (BST), but Please note that at the end of the month the clocks are put back one hour to take us into GMT.
Therefore subtract one hour from the times stated here to obtain GMT. Times For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.

Latitude 53 degs 24 mins North.
Longitude +3.0 degs West.

            2nd       7th       12th      17th      22nd      27th     1st Nov
SUNRISE    07:15     07:24     07:33     07:43     07:52     08:01      08:11
SUNSET     18:46     18:34     18:23     18:11     18:00     17:50      17:40
on 27th
at 08h:59m
on 5th
at 12h:00m
on 13th
at 09h:54m
on 21st
at 09h:00m



Mercury is at inferior conjunction on the 30th and is therefore unobservable until early next month.


Venus on the other hand, is starting to rise above the evening twilight arc and sets well over an hour after the Sun. Its declination is quite low as it passes through the constellations of Libra & Scorpius. On the 30th Venus is 4° North of the 3 day old Moon. There are a couple of very close approaches to note this month. On the 6th Venus passes 48 arcminutes South of the star Alpha Librae. On the 21st the planet lies 51′ North of Gamma Scorpii whilst on the 24th Venus lies a mere 20′ North of the globular star cluster M80.


Mars moves from Leo into Virgo and also passes close by a couple of bright stars. On the 16th at 22h:00m the red planet is 25′ South of Sigma Leonis whilst on the 30th passes 36′ North of Beta Virginis. On the 24th the Moon pays a fleeting visit, lying 2.5° to the North at 08h:00m on the 1st and at 16h:40m on the 31st.

MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


  • 12 Victoria is at Opposition mag 9.7 on Oct 30th in Aries.
  • 4 Vesta is now becoming less bright but can be found low down in Sagittarius.

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter and Saturn are still the planets to aim a telescope at!, interesting objects at any time, they are nice and bright, high enough up, to get out of any haze or pollution and on view at a time suitable for people who are up to early morning observing. Now would be a good time to try some basic astrophotography. You need a camera (this need not be an SLR although this is recommended) with a ‘B’ setting on the exposure knob, a cable release, a 50mm or 135mm lens and something like 200 or 400ASA film. Set the camera on a tripod and point towards Jupiter and Saturn. Focus on infinity and set the lens to f4 or even f5.6. Using the cable release gently press down and open the shutter. Time your first exposure for 2 minutes and for subsequent exposures increase the time by one minute until you have about five or six frames completed. There will ne a small amount of trailing whne you look at the results but you will have recorded; the two planets, a handful of bright stars and, depending on how you framed the shot, the star cluster known as The Pleiades M45.

Launched in October 1989, the Galileo Jupiter Probe entered orbit around the great planet on December 7th 1995. The Project Galileo Homepage will give you up-to-date information and the very latest images returned.


Saturn like Jupiter lies in the same part of the sky as The Pleiades and getting up early is well worth the effort for the view.


Both are still with us, and both cross the meridian at 20h and 21h respectively at the end of the month.Their brightness has faded slightly but as they are faint anyway this will make little difference to their visibility. Both lie in the constellation of Capricornus.

Planet Positions During October 2000

Uranus             Oct 1st       R.A. 21h:19m:22s     DEC -16°:22':57"     Mag 5.7

Neptune            Oct 1st       R.A. 20h:24m:30s     DEC -19°:05':55"     Mag 7.9


Tiny distant pluto is now very poorly placed for observations from Liverpool. Please note even at opposition Pluto reachers 13.7 Mag.


13th                 Piscids                          Low Rates       Unfavourable  (14 day old Moon)

21st/22nd            Orionids                         20  Per Hour    Unfavourable  (22 day old Moon)


  • Oct 5th: Comet Brorsen at Perihelion (0.586 AU).
  • Oct 12th: Comet C/2000 K2 Linear at Perihelion (2.431 AU).

Plus these pages will give daily and weekly reports of this and other Comets progress.


  • Oct 15th at 00h:14m:47s Reappearance of Mu Ceti (Mag 4.3).