In Manx skies... October 2017 ~ compiled by Dave Storey


19th at 19.12h

First Quarter
27th at 22.22h

5th at 18.40h

Last Quarter
12th at 12.12h

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Note: All times are Universal Time (UT)
British Summer Time ends on Sunday 29th at 02h BST when the clocks go back 1 hour. Remember to add 1 hour to any times quoted here prior to this date/time to obtain local IoM time. After this date/time, IoM local time = Universal Time.

There are no solar or lunar eclipses this month.


Solar activity is low with solar cycle 24 now in force.


Carrington's Solar Rotation number 2196 starts on the 10th at 00h08m57s.


Is on the far side of the Sun and goes through superior conjunction on the 8th. The planet will pass 1° north of the Sun and move into the evening sky. However, it will be too close to the Sun to see this month.


 Will be found in dawn skies, shining bright at magnitude -3.9. On the morning of the 5th, it will be in conjunction with planet Mars and should prove an interesting sight. (See below). The planets will be at a minimum separation of 12 arc minutes at 16.37h but that will be in daylight skies from IoM. By the end of the month, Venus will have moved much closer to the Sun and will become more difficult to spot in the bright dawn sky.


Is visible before sunrise and as mentioned above, close to Venus at the start of the month. It will shine at magnitude +1.8 and have the distinct reddish tinge to it. Telescopically, it is too far away to see any details as the apparent disc diameter is less than 4 arc seconds.


Will not be visible this month as it is too close to the Sun. It is in solar conjunction on the 26th when it passes 1° north of the Sun.


Is visible in the south west sky after sunset, shining at magnitude +0.5. It will be at a low altitude by the time darkness falls (less than 10°) and the image through a telescope will be somewhat degraded. The rings will be angled towards Earth at 27° with the north face of the rings on display. This is the widest angle that the rings will presented to us and form this month, the angle will start to shallow.


Is opposition on the 19th in the constellation Pisces. It shines at magnitude +5.7 and is technically a naked eye object, but binoculars will show the planet. The planet will be visible all night long on this date.
Use the charts below to find this planet.

White box in upper chart is reproduced in chart below.


Piscid meteors have been active in September and continue into October. A peak of activity occurs on the 13th. The rate is unknown on this date, but it will be low.

Orionids are active from 16th to 30th with peak activity during the days 21st to 23rd when 25 meteors per hour (ZHR) my be seen. This shower produces some fast moving meteors (41 miles per second) with with persistent trains. The particles that make up this meteor shower originate from Halley's Comet. The Moon will be well out of the way for the period of maximum activity, so a good display may be seen.

(Stars Brighter than Magnitude +6.0)

Date Time            ZC#    SAO#           Magnitude. P.A.  Type of event.    Notes

3rd      22.07:50    3421   146612        +4.9           055° DD                 D*
10th    03.16:20    741     94227          +5.5           229° RD                 D*
14th    03.54:56    1337   98250          +5.6           257° RD                

For very detailed list of occultations visible this month, Click Here. Data from Occult Software.

Times are UT as seen from IoMAS Observatory. Start to observe these events about 20 minutes before the above times to allow for differences in your latitude and longitude. This will give you time to locate the star that is about to be occulted.

ZC = Zodiacal Catalogue. Type of Event DD = disappearance at dark limb, RD = Reappearance at dark limb. DB = Disappearance at bright limb. RB = Reappearance on bright limb. PA = Position Angle around limb of the Moon, where 0 degrees is north, 90 degrees is east, 180 degrees is south and 270 degrees is west. D* = Double Star

The above predictions were calculated from Occult software by David Herald. More information regarding this software may be found at the web site.


This star drops from magnitude +2.1 to +3.4 in about 5 hours. Suitable events visible from the Isle of Man this month occur on 19th at 02.36h and 21st at 23.24h. Click here for a star chart for Algol.


Comet C/2017 O1 (ASASSN) is a new visitor to the inner solar system, and may be as bright as magnitude +7.7, and visible in binoculars. It reaches perihelion (closest to the Sun) on the 14th and on this date, the comet will be 0.72 astronomical units (66 million miles) from Earth. As seen from the Isle of Man. The comet is circumpolar, which means it is always above the horizon, so is well placed for viewing. The comet passes left side of Perseus, heading towards the pole star Polaris.

For further details, go to the following web page:-


The international Space Station crosses the Manx skies on a regular basis. For the latest information on when the ISS is due to pass across the sky over the next ten days, visit the link below.

ISS transit Information from Heavens

Bibliography for Manx Night Skies

The Handbook of the British Astronomical Association 2017. BAA. 2016
Stargazing 2017. Heather Couper & Nigel Henbest. Philip's 2016
2017 Guide to the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop & Wil Tirion. Collins 2016
2017: An Astronomical Year (U.K. Edition) Richard J. Bartlett. October 2016
Yearbook 2017. Sky at Night. BBC. Immediate Media Company, Bristol. 2016
2017 Yearbook of Astronomy. Richard Pearson & Brian Jones. CPI Group (UK) Limited. 2017
Observer's Handbook Meteors. Neil Bone. Philip's 1993
Atlas of the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop. Collins. 2005
Constellations. Josef Klepešta and Antonin Rükl. Hamlyn. 1979
Brilliant Stars. Patrick Moore. The Book People Ltd. 1996
Complete Guide to Stargazing. Robin Scagell. Phillip's. 2006
Turn Left at Orion. Guy Consolmango and Dan M. Davis. Cambridge U.P. 2008
Norton's 2000.0 Edited Ian Ridpath. Longman Scientific & Technical. 1989

Planetary data derived from Guide 9 Software.
Picture graphics derived from Stellarium and Guide 9 Software.