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    Articles > October 2002
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by Jay M. Pasachoff
4th Edition

A pocket-sized reference and field guide to the night sky. Includes detailed constellation maps covering the entire sky and showing stars to magnitude 7.5.
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  October 2002 Sky Calendar
2 Moon 2.7° from Beehive Cluster (M44) at 0h UT (morning sky). Best seen with the aid of binoculars.
6 New Moon at 11:18 UT. Beginning of lunation 987.
6 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 13h UT (distance 356,918 km; angular size 33.5').
8 Crescent Moon near Venus. From mid-northern latitudes the Moon will appear above Venus at dusk. Look for Venus very low in the west-southwest sky soon after sunset. Venus will be visible during the first half of the month, sinking from view after that.
10 Mercury 2.8° from Mars at 13h UT (morning sky). Both planets are low in the east and difficult to view in morning twilight. Binoculars required.
13 First Quarter Moon at 5:33 UT.
13 Mercury at greatest elongation, 18° west of the Sun. The best apparition all year for skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes. Locate Mercury (magnitude ­0.5) 10° above the eastern horizon 40 minutes before sunrise. Much fainter Mars (magnitude +1.8) is 3.5° to the upper right.
20 Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth) at 5h UT (distance 406,360 km; angular size 29.4').
21 Full Moon at 7:20 UT. The Hunter's Moon because it is the first Full Moon after the Harvest Moon.
21 Orionid meteor shower peaks. This year the Full Moon will greatly reduce the view of the Orionids.
26 Moon 3.1° from Saturn at 8h UT (morning sky).
29 Last Quarter Moon at 5:28 UT.
29 Moon 2.9° from Beehive Cluster (M44) at 8h UT (morning sky). Best seen with the aid of binoculars.
30 Moon 4.3° from Jupiter at 0h UT (morning sky).
31 Venus at inferior conjunction at 12h UT.
Also... Saturn (magnitude ­0.1) now rises in the mid-to-late evening. Shines with a distinct yellow color and located about mid-way between the bright stars Aldebaran and the Pollux-Castor pair. A telescope will always provide a spectacular view of Saturn but it's best to wait till the ringed-planet is high up in the sky. Jupiter (magnitude ­2.0) rises in the east-northeast around midnight. Continues to move away from the Beehive Cluster.

Clear skies till next month!

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