NASA Podcasts

What's Up for October 2012?
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What's Up for October. Ceres, Vesta and two meteor showers.

Hello and welcome. I'm Jane Houston Jones at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

You can spot the two brightest objects in the asteroid belt this month and throughout autumn.

You'll find both Ceres and Vesta near Jupiter, among the stars of the constellations Taurus and Gemini. Look to the eastern sky in the late evening this month. You can't miss Jupiter.

These two objects shine at a magnitude of 7 and 8, making them challenging but rewarding objects to find in your telescope.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft completed its orbit of Vesta in August after over a year of investigation. Now Dawn is on its way to Ceres and will arrive in February 2015.

A third asteroid, Pallas, is also visible through telescopes in the southeastern sky this month.

Two meteor showers grace the October skies, too.

The Orionids will peak on the 21st. You'll see more just before midnight, after the moon sets.

The Taurid meteor shower, radiating from the constellation Taurus the bull, doesn't peak until November 10 but is active beginning October 20.

You can tell the difference between the two showers, even though the constellations appear near each other. Taurids are slow, and you might see bright fireballs. The Orionids are fast and mostly faint.

To learn about Dawn and all of NASA's missions, visit

That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.

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