The Naked Eye Sky This Week

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Each Monday I pick out the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses and more.

What To Watch For In The Night Sky This Week: October 24-30, 2022

This week brings a special day-time celestial sight as 2022’s second solar eclipse occurs—but only for some of the globe. Europe, northeast Africa, the Middle East and western Asia will see something of this partial solar eclipse, which will see as much as 86% of the Sun blocked by the Moon. Everyone in the path will need to wear special protective solar filters to view the event.

A solar eclipse is something that can occur only at the point of New Moon—when our natural satellite in space is precisely between Earth and the Sun—before its emerges into the post-sunset evening sky as a crescent Moon.

But not before Venus performs a vanishing act.

Here’s what’s happening in the night (and day) sky this week:

Tuesday, October 25, 2022: A partial solar eclipse and an occultation of Venus

Today’s partial solar eclipse is the second and final such event in 2022, the other being on April 30. It will be visible from Europe, northeast Africa Asia and Africa and see 82% of the Sun eclipsed by the Moon. The maximum eclipse point will be in Russia. The event puts the Moon in a position to cause a total lunar eclipse in two weeks on November 8—one that will be observable from all of North America.

For those in South Africa the partial solar eclipse isn’t visible, but only from there—just an hour later—the New Moon will occult the bright planet Venus for about 50 minutes.

Thursday, October 27, 2022: Moon and Antares

Look southwest just after sunset tonight to see an 8%-lit waxing crescent Moon just 2º from Antares, a supergiant red star in the constellation of Scorpius whose name means the “rival of Mars.”

Saturday, October 29, 2022: Moon and the ‘Teapot’

In the southwest post-sunset sky tonight you’ll find a 24%-lit, five-day old waxing crescent Moon inside the famous “Teapot” asterism (shape) in the constellation of Sagittarius.

While you look at our beautiful natural satellite just ponder that it’s actually covering galactic center point—the middle of the our Milky Way galaxy where a massive black hole hangs out.

Star cluster of the week: the ‘Seven Sisters’

Look east about an hour after sunset and you’ll see what is perhaps the most beautiful object in the night sky. The Pleiades, also called M45 and the “Seven Sisters,” are an open cluster of six or seven hot young blue stars visible to the naked eye (depending on your eyesight) and about 100 in binoculars. They become bright and unmissable as the darkness gathers. The Pleiades is about 440 light-years from the Solar System.

Object of the week: An eclipsed Sun

A partial eclipse of the Sun is most common of all, but it’s an impressive sight indeed. During a partial solar eclipse the Moon appears to take a chunk out of the Sun, but at no point does it block all of the Sun’s light. So it never gets dark or twilight-like, as it does during a much rarer total solar eclipse.

How much of the Sun the Moon blocks will depend on where you are on the Earth’s surface, but at least some of a partial solar eclipse can be viewed from a track many hundreds of miles wide. However, safety is everything—never look at a partially eclipse Sun with the naked eye, and always with solar eclipse safety glasses.

Times and dates given apply to mid-northern latitudes. For the most accurate location-specific information consult online planetariums like Stellarium and The Sky Live. Check planet-rise/planet-set, sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset times for where you are.

Disclaimer: I am the Editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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