StarWatch for the greater Lehigh Valley
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OCTOBER  1996
006    OCTOBER 7, 1996:   Earthshine
In the predawn morning sky about 5:30 a.m., watch the waning crescent moon pass Mars on the 7th and approach Venus on the 8th. By the 9th and 10th, a very thin crescent moon is below Venus. By looking at the moon with averted vision, it may be possible to see the entire lunar disk silhouetted against a darker sky. Light reflected from earth reflects again off the moon to create earthshine. The bright crescent is still sunlight reflected directly to earth. By Friday, October 11th, only Venus and Mars remain.
 
007    OCTOBER 14, 1996:   See Comet Hale-Bopp
On Monday, October 14th, about 8 p.m., look for Comet Hale-Bopp by first spotting Jupiter low in the southwest. Using your fist at armís length, move about two fists to the right and one fist higher. Scan with binoculars for a faint, fuzzy looking object with a small tail. Thatís Hale-Bopp. By Wednesday at 8 p.m., the moon produces an isosceles triangle with the comet and Jupiter. The comet is about one fist above the moon and forms the short side of the triangle. Be patient, H-B is not an easy target, but it is visible to the careful observer. By Friday, a nearly first quarter moon can be found above Jupiter.
 
008    OCTOBER 21, 1996:   Orionid Meteors Fly
Check for Orionid meteors after 2 a.m. on the morning of the 22nd. Look southeast to south for Orion, the Hunter; its three belt stars are bright, equally distant, and in a straight line. Any shooting star radiating from above and to the left of the belt region of Orion this week will probably be an Orionid meteor. Expect rates on the 22nd of 10 or more meteors per hour in the suburbs. Increasing moonlight continues to ravage the sky, but cannot dampen beautiful Saturn which is passed by the moon between the 23rd and 24th. The full "Huntersí Moon" occurs on the 26th.
 
009    OCTOBER 28, 1996:   Mars Close to Regulus
Look east about 5 a.m., across a moonlit landscape to see brilliant Venus low to the horizon. Above Venus will be Mars. As the week begins, Mars will be positioned very close to Regulus, the brightest star of Leo, the Lion. Is Mars above or below Regulus? Both objects will be about the same brightness. Here are some hints. Stars twinkle; planets donít. The color of Mars should be warmer than the hue of Regulus. Use binoculars if possible and watch over several mornings. Mars will be doing the moving. Answer, in next weekís StarWatch.
 
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