Dates and times shown are NZDT (UT + 13 hours). Rise and Set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ. Data is adapted from that shown by GUIDE 9.1.

THE SUN and PLANETS in OCTOBER 2021, Rise & Set  Mag. & Cons.
          OCT 1     NZDT              OCT 31     NZDT  
      Mag  Cons    Rise    Set     Mag  Cons    Rise    Set
SUN  -26.7  Vir   6.53am  7.28pm  -26.7  Lib   6.06am  8.02pm
Merc   1.6  Vir   7.15am  8.56pm   -0.8  Vir   5.35am  6.34pm
Venus -4.3  Lib   8.37am 11.24pm   -4.6  Oph   8.25am 12.12am
Mars   1.7  Vir   7.03am  7.37pm    1.7  Vir   5.49am  7.20pm
Jup   -2.7  Cap   3.22pm  5.20am   -2.5  Cap   1.23pm  3.22am
Sat    0.5  Cap   2.01pm  4.34am    0.6  Cap  12.04pm  2.37am
Uran   5.7  Ari  10.17pm  8.33am    5.6  Ari   8.14pm  6.32am
Nep    7.8  Aqr   5.49pm  6.29am    7.8  Aqr   3.47pm  4.29am
Pluto 14.5  Sgr  12.54pm  3.57am   14.6  Sgr  10.56am  2.00am

                OCT 1  NZDT             OCT 31  NZDT
TWILIGHTS    morning     evening       morning      evening
Civil:    start 6.28am, end 7.54pm   start 5.40am, end  8.30pm
Nautical: start 5.55am, end 8.27pm   start 5.03am, end  9.07pm
Astro:    start 5.21am, end 9.01pm   start 4.25am, end  9.46pm

  New Moon:      Oct  7 at 12.05am (Oct  6, 11:05 UT)
  First quarter: Oct 13 at  4.25pm (03:25 UT)
  Full Moon:     Oct 21 at  3.57am (Oct 20, 14:57 UT)
  Last quarter   Oct 29 at  9.05pm (Oct 28, 20:05 UT)


VENUS is a brilliant object in the evening sky. It is at its greatest angular distance from the Sun at the end of October when it will set over 4 hours after the Sun, shortly after midnight (NZDT). So it is readily visible all evening. In mid October Venus passes the first magnitude star, Antares, the two being about 1.5° at their closest.

MERCURY and MARS are both going to be more or less unobservable during October. Both are at conjunction with the Sun, Mars on the 8th and Mercury 36 hours later. Following conjunction they both move into the morning sky rising in twilight shortly before the Sun.

JUPITER and SATURN are both easily visible in the evening sky. They rise early afternoon and set well after midnight, with Jupiter being about 80 minutes behind Saturn. Both planets are stationary during October, Saturn on the 11th and Jupiter a week later.

The moon will be a little over 3° above Saturn on the 14th and a similar distance from Jupiter on the 15th.

URANUS, NEPTUNE and PLUTO are all becoming evening objects. Uranus will rise early in the evening during October, barely a quarter hour after the Sun sets by the end of the month. By that date, Neptune will be up by mid afternoon while PLUTO rises near midday all month.


                  OCT 1 NZDT          OCT 30 NZDT  
                Mag  Cons  transit    Mag  Cons  transit
 (1) Ceres      8.3   Tau   5.24am    7.7   Tau   3.19am
 (2) Pallas     8.9   Aqr  11.35pm    9.5   Aqr   9.28pm
 (4) Vesta      7.9   Vir   3.00pm    7.8   Lib   2.02pm
 (7) Iris       9.4   Gem   7.47am    9.1   Gem   6.33am

CERES, in Taurus is stationary on October 8 after which date it starts heading back towards Aldebaran. By the 31st the two are less than half a degree apart. The asteroid is a late evening object, rising at 12.17am on the 1st and 10.15 pm on the 31st.

PALLAS, in Aquarius, rises at 5.14pm on the 1st and at 2.48pm on the 31st.

VESTA is an early evening object crossing from Virgo to Libra on the 3rd. It sets at 9.37pm on the 1st and 9.00pm on the 31st, an hour after the Sun

IRIS is crossing Gemini in October. It rises at 3.10am on the 1st and 1.43am on the 31st, so is very much a morning sky object.


Brian Loader