How To See All The Planets In The Night Sky During October 2022


This month is a night sky watcher’s dream as it’s possible to observe all the planets in the solar system and most of them will be highlighted as they have close encounters with the moon during the coming weeks.

Observing all of these worlds obviously varies depending on your location on our planet. I recommend using an app like Stellarium that points you in the right direction to locate a particular objects.

First up is Mercury, that smallest and boiling hot of the planets nearest the sun. Look to the eastern horizon, hopefully before the sun rises (about 6 a.m. local time) that catch the best of view of this underrated world for the next six months. Unsurprisingly Mercury is usually a little too close to the sun to get a good view, but catching it in the pre-dawn hour over the first three weeks of October is your best bet.

Next is Saturn, which will have a conjunction (when two celestial objects appear to meet in the sky) with the moon on Oct. 5. Look for it just to the upper right of our natural satellite. It shines yellowish-white and brighter than most stars. You won’t be able to see its rings with the naked eye, so it may be worth breaking out some binoculars or a backyard telescope to see if you can get a better look.

Mercury also has its own conjunction with the moon the morning of Oct. 24, but it will be near or after sunrise for many locations, making it tough to spot. In fact, the moon will have a conjunction this month with every planet except Neptune.

October is also a great month for observing our moon on its own, especially during its full phase. This first full moon after the autumn equinox is the so-called Hunter’s Moon, and it will appear full or almost full for several nights around sunset between Oct. 7 and Oct. 11.

On Oct. 8, one day before the official full moon, Jupiter will pass within just a few degrees of the moon in the constellation Pisces. Check the duo out around midnight high in the sky with a pair of binoculars or even the naked eye if you focus.

Jupiter is also just a few weeks off from shining its brightest in the night sky in several decades and it will still be feeling itself in October. With a telescope you may be able to see the four brightest moons of the giant planet: Ganymede, Callisto, Europa, and Io.

Jupiter and Saturn also stick close to each other in the early evening sky this month, forming a triangle with bright star Fomalhaut.

On Oct. 12, the moon will not only have a conjunction with Uranus, it will go one step further and occult (pass in front of) the ice giant from certain vantage points in the Americas. Uranus is unfortunately distant and dim, but you might be able to see it with binoculars.

Far off Neptune is consistently the most difficult planet to spot and October is no different, but the BBC does offer some handy tips for trying to resolve it with binoculars or a telescope.

Mars gets its chance to shine around the middle of the month as it comes closer and nearly doubles its brightness. On Oct. 14, the orange-ish world will have its own conjunction with the waning moon, appearing just a few degrees to the lower right. Look for it higher in the sky around midnight most evenings in the second half of the month.

By now you may have caught on to one glaring omission: where is Venus? Normally the dominant morning star, the second planet spends much of the month rising not long before sunrise and quickly getting lost in daylight. The moon will actually occult Venus on Oct. 25 but it will be all but impossible to see due to its proximity to the sun.

If this isn’t enough sky watching to fill your calendar, there’s also an eclipse or two around the corner as well. Eyes up!



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