Weymouth Astronomy

The Planets - October 2018

Observing the planets can be extremely rewarding. Everyone remembers the first time they observed Saturn and it's rings or the gas giant Jupiter and it's Galillean Moons. Solar System


Mercury, the innermost planet might just be spotted very low in the west at the very end of the month and binoculars could well be needed (but please do not use them until after the Sun has set). Look up and to the left of where the Sun has set as its angular separation from the Sun is not great.


Venus is not visible from the UK this month but will be seen low in the east just before sunrise by the middle of next month.


Mars is now moving eastwards in Capricornus and made it's closest approach to Earth since 2003 on the night of July 30th/31st. It can be seen due south shining at a magnitude of -1.3 around 9pm at the start of October but this falls to -0.6 by month's end when it is due south at 8pm.


Jupiter can be seen low in the west soon after sunset at the begining of October. Jupiter's equatorial bands, sometimes the Great Red Spot and up to four of its Gallilean moons could all be visible in a small telescope but its low elevation will greatly restrict the view.


Saturn will be visible in the south west at an elevation of 14 degrees after sunset at the beginning of the month. Saturn is moving slowly eastwards in Sagittarius. Unfortunately the atmospheric dispersion will greatly hinder the view.

Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine