Pocket Sky Atlas Challenges for October

Sky and Telescope's "Pocket Sky Atlas" is a wonderful resource for all amateur astronomers. These challenges are designed for spicing up your observing.

Pocket Sky Atlas Challenges for October - John Kulczycki (http://)

Sky and Telescope Magazine's "Pocket Sky Atlas" has found a place in the tool kit of many amateur astronomers. The convenient size makes it easy to use at the telescope without requiring a separate chart table. For urban astronomers, the charts are sufficient for the brighter stars visible under urban skies; the charts offer enough detail for star hops with telescopes or binoculars. When taking advantage of a dark sky location, the details of the charts allow for hours of wanderings per page depending on the size of the telescope and the skill of the operator.

These challenge objects are indexed to the star chart pages containing those objects. The idea is to have fun and perhaps expand your observing past the "usual suspects" that can be found because of past experiences. Seeing conditions may not allow finding these objects every night, but they should be visible at some point during the month.

October Sky

The chill is in the air and the nights are getting longer, leaves are falling exposing new opportunities in viewing fields not available during summer. For early risers, Orion returns and M42 beckons.

Don’t be spooked away from doing astronomy outreach: it is not as scary as it seems.

The last night of the month is a perfect night to gain some hands on experience by doing neighbourhood astronomy outreach. The moon and Jupiter are good early targets. A telescope set up near the frond door of your home during Halloween is an excellent idea for neighbourhood outreach.Other suitable targets include M31 (page 3), M45 (page 15 also see close up chart “A” at the back of the atlas.) and the Double Cluster (page 13).

The challenge objects are indexed the object to its star chart page.

Naked Eye:

  • M45 Page13, also see close up chart “A” at the back of the atlas.
  • Algol, Page 2. Is it as bright as last month?
  • Alderamin and Errai, page71.
  • Alpheratz, Matar and Caph page72.

Small Scopes and binoculars:

  • Kemble’s Cascade, Pages 11 and 13. There are 15 to 25 stars visible here, can you see colour in any of them?
  • M73 and M2, Page 77.
  • M15, Page 75.
  • NGC 7448, Page 74.

Larger Scopes:

  • IC 405, Page 12.
  • NGC 7457, Page 74.
  • NGC 7626 and 7619, Page 74.
  • V509, Page 72.

Bonus objects:

  • NGC 7009, M30 Page 77.
  • M34, Page 12.
  • PK 72-17.1 ( Abell 74), Page 75.
  • NGC 6940, Page 73.

Happy hunting.

After note:

If you are looking to get into astrophotography, Rick Saunders of the London Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has a good resource here:



John Kulczycki