Society News and Night Sky Notes – October 2001

Society News Headlines

  • Oct 7th: Moon 1° North of Saturn.
  • Oct 10th: Moon 1° North of Jupiter.
  • Oct 13th: Laetita at opposition in Cetus at mag 9.5
  • Oct 13th: Piscids meteor shower 3rd maximum.
  • Oct 13th: FAS Convention & AGM at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, Oxfordshire.
  • Oct 14th: Mercury at inferior conjunction.
  • Oct 15th: Moon 4° of Venus.
  • Oct 16th: Moon 6° of Mercury.
  • Oct 19th: LAS The 14th William Lassell Memoral lecture, RC Cathedral, Crypt Concert Room 7pm
  • Oct 20th: North West Astronomical Societies Meeting, RC Cathedral, Crypt concert Room 10am – 5pm. Hosted by Liverpool AS.
  • Oct 21st: Orionids Meteor Shower maximum.
  • Oct 23rd: Moon 0.1° South of Mars.
  • Oct 24th: NASA spacecraft Odyssey enters orbit around the planet Mars.
  • Oct 24th: 150th Anniversary (1851) of the discovery of Umbrial & Ariel Moons of Uranus by William Lassell.
  • Oct 28th: Venus & Mercury in morning conjunction.
  • Oct 28th: Comet C/1999 U4 (Catalina-skiff) at perihelion (4.915AU).
  • Oct 28th: British Summer Time Ends – Clocks Go back 1 hour.
  • Oct 29th: Max Western elongation of Mercury at 18° – morning sky.
  • Oct 31st: BAA Annual General Meeting and Ordinary Meeting with Presidential address.


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.

For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.

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

            3rd       8th       13th      18th      23rd      28th     2nd Nov
SUNRISE    07:17     07:26     07:35     07:44     07:53     08:03      08:12
SUNSET     18:45     18:33     18:21     18:10     17:59     17:48      17:38
on 16th
at 20h:24m
on 24th
at 03h:59m
on 2nd
at 14h:50m
on 10th
at 05h:20m



Mercury makes its last and best appearance in 2001 this month. Lying just over 10° in the east-south-east 45 minutes before Sunrise at the end of the month. The close proximity of Venus ought to make this elusive planet easily spotted with the naked eye. Unfortunately the Moon only comes close at the end of the apparition and therefore isn’t of much help. Use this table to give you an idea where along the horizon to look.


Venus’ descent towards the horizon is quite obvious and, as mentioned above, can be used to find Mercury in the morning sky at the end of the month. You cannot fail to miss Venus in the South-east before dawn. In late October Mercury comes amazingly close, lying only 39 arcminutes South of Venus between 28th and 30th. Next month the two planets drift apart but Mercury’s brightness increases a few notches. If you want to photograph the scene make a series of exposures on 200ASA film (slide or print) ranging from 5 seconds to 30 seconds at 5 second increments with the lens set at f4. Somewhere in between these will be your own very nice photo of this great event!.


Mars swiftly moves from Sagittarius into Capricornus passing 42′ south of the globular star cluster M75 on the 26th. On the 23rd at 02hrs Mars and the Moon are 1° apart.

Marswatch – latest observations of the red planet.


  • 39 Laetita is at Opposition mag 9.5 on Oct 13th in Cetus.
  • 4 Vesta is now becoming brighter as it nears opposition next month. It can be found inTaurus at mag 7.5

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter now rises before midnight and slows its eastward motion against the stars as it prepares to go into retrograde motion. On the 9th at 23hrs Jupiter is 42′ south of the Moon.

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 too has halted its eastward motion and has already started to move westwards in Taurus. On the 7th at 18hrs Saturn is 31′ north of the Moon. As the moon’s diameter is just about 30′ this is almost an occultation. Owners of telescopes may like to catch the two bodies as one drifts past the other. As the Moon’s orbit intersects that of Saturn closer to the planet each month an actual occultation is inevitable and this is what happens next month and again December.


Both are still with us, 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.This will be you last chance to see them until May 2002

Planet Postions During October 2001

Uranus             Oct 1st       R.A. 22h:35m:37s     DEC -15°:07':11"     Mag 5.7

Neptune            Oct 1st       R.A. 21h:33m:42s     DEC -18°:37':45"     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                           5  per Hour    Favourable  (24 day old Moon)

21st/22nd            Orionids                         20  Per Hour    Favourable  ( 4 day old Moon)


  • Oct 28th: Comet C/1999 U4 (Catalina-Skiff) at Perihelion ( 4.915AU).
  • Oct : Comet at Perihelion ( AU).

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


  • Oct 25th at 18h:46m:00s Disappearance of epsilon Capricorni(Mag 4.5).