Skywatching in October 2013

In this post, read about what you can see in the night-time sky from Glasgow and the UK this October. Plus, you can find out the sunrise and sunset times, the phases of the Moon and an opportunity to witness a partial penumbral lunar eclipse from Glasgow.

“What is a penumbral lunar eclipse?” I hear you ask. Well, it occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s ‘penumbra’ – an area behind the Earth where light originating from the Sun is partly obscured which causes a subtle darkening or the Earth’s shadow on the Moon’s surface.

Geometry of a Lunar Eclipse

The Night Sky

Cast your view skywards this October and, on a clear night, you’ll be able to see a sky similar to the image below (click to embiggen).

The midnight sky overhead from Glasgow, UK on 5th October 2013

The midnight sky overhead from Glasgow, UK on 5th October 2013

The image shows the whole overhead night sky at midnight on 5th October from Glasgow, Scotland – the night of the New Moon. Although the Moon and the planets will vary position somewhat from night to night through the month, the position of the stars stays similar to as you can see in the image.

The asterism of the ‘Summer Triangle‘ is comprised of the bright stars Deneb, Altair and Vega and is visible from even the city’s light-polluted skies.

Find and follow ‘The Plough’ to find Polaris, the North Star. You can use this as a starting point to find your bearings even if you don’t have a compass or GPS.

Look out for Cassiopeia – high overhead in the ‘W’ in the Milky Way.

Fancy swotting up on what you’re looking at in the night sky? Check out these fantastic books about astronomy.

Sunrise and Sunset times, Glasgow

  • 5th October 2013 – Sunrise 07:28 Sunset 18:42

  • 12th October 2013 – Sunrise 07:42 Sunset 18:24

  • 19th October 2013 – Sunrise 07:56 Sunset 18:06

  • 27th October 2013 – Sunrise 07:13 Sunset 16:48

Times are listed are local to Glasgow and take account of Daylight Saving Time (also known as British Summer Time or BST). Daylight saving ends at 02:00 on 27th October 2013 – the clocks go back an hour – this is taken into account for the times listed above.

Moon Phases

  • New Moon – 5th October 2013, 01:35

  • First Quarter – 12th October 2013, 00:03

  • Full Moon – 19th October 2013, 00:38

  • Last Quarter – 27th October 2013, 00:41

Times are listed are local to Glasgow and take account of Daylight Saving Time (also known as British Summer Time or BST). Daylight saving ends at 02:00 on 27th October 2013 – the clocks go back an hour. The Last Quarter Moon is before daylight saving ends at 00:41 – before the clocks go back.

A penumbral lunar eclipse will be partially visible from Glasgow, UK from 18th into the 19th October 2013. The penumbral eclipse begins around 22:53; maximum is at 00:50; and the penumbral eclipse ends at 02:48.

Daytime Skywatching

Spotted any incredible cloud formations recently? If clouds are your thing – and let’s face it, who can fail to be mesmerised on a daily basis by the stunning beauty and variety of them – then you’ll definitely want to check out the Cloud Appreciation Society and get yourself a good cloudspotting guide.

Enjoy your skygazing this month!

About Derek Shirlaw

I'm passionate about science communication, social media, and my home country, Scotland. In particular, I have a real interest in astronomy, digital marketing, and the great outdoors.
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