THIS OCTOBER SMASHED TEMPERATURE RECORDS AROUND THE WORLD

October

 

A map of temperature anomalies during October. Red shows the biggest deviation from the standard (temperatures recorded between 1951 and 1980).

If you’ve been wondering why your coats stayed in the closet and your heater remained off for the first part of fall, wonder no more. This October was the warmest on record. Ever.

Last month beat out all the other Octobers to get the title of hottest Octobersince record-keeping began in the late 1800’s. It was also the highest deviation from ‘normal’ global temperatures. Those temperatures were recorded between 1951 and 1980, and are averaged to get a general baseline. The data comes from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which looks at temperature changes over long periods of time (decades as opposed to days).

If it sounds like a familiar story, that’s because it is. Last winter was one of the warmest on record, even with all the snow. 2014 and 2012 were also record-breaking years, and with the addition of October to its already hot lineup, 2015 is likely to surpass both.

Extreme heat is now 4 times more likely than it was before the industrial revolution, and that shows no signs of stopping.

Source: THIS OCTOBER SMASHED TEMPERATURE RECORDS AROUND THE WORLD

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THIS OCTOBER SMASHED TEMPERATURE RECORDS AROUND THE WORLD

Now’s your best chance to view Mercury

The month of October is going to be particularly kind to astronomy enthusiasts this year, with Jupiter, Mars, and Venus set to draw unusually close to each other in the night sky, and the tricky-to-spot Mercury scheduled to make a rare bright appearance in the Northern Hemisphere.

You don’t get this kind of show for free though – over the next three weeks, the best time to view Mercury will be at around 5:45am (ET), with Jupiter, Mars, and Venus expected to switch up their positions relative to each other every morning. So best set your alarm and get ready to tell your tired body it’s all for science.

The first morning of note is Friday October 17, when Jupiter will finally catch up to Mars in the east so they’re just 0.5 degrees apart – as Joe Rao at Space.com points out, that’s about the width of the Moon in our night sky. This will be the first such conjunction between these two planets since 22 July 2013, and it’ll be the last till 7 January 2018.

During the week of October 22 to 29, Venus will join the party, and the three planets will align, with just 5 degrees between them. “That’s a big deal, because the next planetary trio won’t occur again until January 2021,” Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd report for Earthsky.org.

Jupiter, Mars, and Venus will be closest together early in the morning on October 26, with Jupiter having such a close encounter with Venus, they’ll form what’s known as a ‘double planet’ for about 3 hours. “Another grouping of three planets won’t happen again until 10 January 2021,” say McClure and Byrd.

If that’s not enough to get you up in the (very early) morning, perhaps the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Mercury will be.

“Mercury rises before the Sun all of this month and is surprisingly easy to see from now through Halloween,” Space.com advises. “All you have to do is just look well below and to the left of our three other morning planets and above the eastern horizon during morning twilight, from about 30 to 45 minutes before sunrise for a bright yellowish-orange ‘star’.”

October 16 is set to be the best morning for Mercury viewing for this entire year, with its position relative to the Sun – about 18-degrees to the east of it – causing the light reflected off its surface to increase dramatically over the next couple of days, making it easy to see with the naked eye. And if you miss that one, on October 30, Mercury will be brighter than any star in the sky, except the brightest of them all, Sirius.

If planets aren’t your thing (wait, what? who are you?) from October 20 to 22, you can view the incredible Orionids Meteor Shower. The shower will occur throughout October, but on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22, it will hit its peak, often delivering around 20 meteors per hour. It’s made up of the dust trails left behind by comet Halley.

Happy sky watching!

Source: Now’s your best chance to view Mercury – here’s how

Now’s your best chance to view Mercury