Peak Star Party - What's Up?

PSP Friends

Many thanks to the following for their help and support...

Moon Phase

Moon phase


12 days

231,449 Miles

10:19:17 GMT


mod_psdn_moonphase by

Radio Propagations

Solar X-rays:
Geomagnetic field:
D-Region Absorption
Created by PA4RM

What's Up?

Rough guide to rising and setting times... (no "rise" time - it is up at sunset; no "set" time - it is up at sunrise)

From Stellarium ( and various online sources.


  • Friday Oct 17: rising around 2am; a little past last quarter (28% illuminated)
  • Saturday Oct 18: rising around 3am; waning (20% illuminated)
  • Sunday Oct 19: rising around 4am; waning (13% illuminated)

Planets & Dwarf Planets

  • Mercury: rising about half an hour ahead of the sun so a good morning target. Very slim crescent with an apparent magnitude around 2.
  • Venus: rising about ten minutes before the sun at mag -3.5 or thereabouts so not really a viable target for PSP2014.
  • Mars: low in the southern sky and setting by 8pm, and a long way from opposition so not likely to be very interesting. Unless Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) hits it on 19 Oct when it will be very interesting indeed!
  • Jupiter: rising around 1:15 am and rising high to about 44 degrees by sunrise. Fairly close to the moon so a nice photo opportunity...
  • Saturn: setting about an hour after the sun so it will be a very challenging target in the evening haze.
  • Uranus: close to opposition so rising around sunset and climbing to just over 40 degrees altitude by midnight. PSP2014 will be a great opportunity to view Uranus but don't expect more than a blue-green dot in all but the biggest scopes.
  • Neptune: also close to opposition but lower in the sky, reaching just over 26 degrees around 10pm and setting about 2:30am.
  • Pluto: hidden in the Milky Way and setting just before 10pm. Mag 14 so a very challenging target.
  • Ceres: setting about an hour after the sun and at mag 8.5, another very difficult target at PSP2014.
  • Haumea: setting about 10pm and mag 17.4, good luck if you are going after this one!
  • Eris: reaching 34 degrees just after midnight but just under mag 20 so imagers only for this, I think.


  • Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1): close to Mars and on the way in so a challenge to spot and not particularly interesting. Unless it actually hits Mars (1 in 120,000 chance) when the resulting fireball on Mars might be a lot less challenging to spot and very, very interesting!

Details of other notable comets will be added through the year.

Observer Lists

Here are a few lists of things you can observe. Note that not everything will be visible from Shallow Grange in October, but these lists are a great starting point.

Please let us know if there is anything else you think should be here!

  • Universe Today's Messier Catalogue: Great descriptions, images, star maps and observer notes for all 101 Messier Objects. These are some of the most beautiful objects in the sky and it's really odd to think that Charles Messier drew up his list so he could AVOID looking at them!
  • Astrospider's Lunar 100 List: A great starting point for lunar observing, the Lunar 100 list comprises 100 notable features on the moon's surface. The first items are very easy to see (the moon itself, the light / dark terminator, etc.), progressing to the very faintest features you will need a telescope to see. Using a pair of 20x80 bins, I can cover roughly the first third of the list.
  • Coldfield Observatory's 200 most beautiful double stars: This Top 200 list gives you the easiest and most beautiful double stars of the night sky, quickly found in your telescope. This is not, like many other lists, an extract from a database filtering the brightest double stars. It is a summary of 200 double stars easily spotted, easily split, and mostly with different and nice colours. All 200 doubles from this list are observed by the author, equipped with a 6 inch f8 Newtonian reflector. The magnification used was never higher than 200x. All doubles are not below the declination of -12.

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