Our Night Sky-Meteors exciting in the clear skies


Were any of you able to see the Draconid meteors on Oct. 6 and 7? I went out several times before the moon appeared, but saw none. Someone told me that they didn’t see any either. You just never know with them.
The Orionids are coming up on Oct. 21 and should provide some meteor viewing.
Unfortunately, it’s a morning event. There should be several days of meteor viewing as Earth passes through the meteoroid stream left by Halley’s Comet. Since the new moon is on Oct. 19, it won’t interfere with our viewing.
Halley’s Comet last appeared in our sky more than 30 years ago and won’t return until 2061.
As you know, meteors are dusty comet debris that burns up in our atmosphere as Earth passes through it.
Twice a year Earth passes through this comet debris. This time of year these flashes of light known as meteors appear to originate from Orion the Hunter, which is why they’re called the Orionids. In the spring we pass through a different part of Halley’s debris, so in May we have the Eta Aquarid Meteor shower.
Both of these meteor showers last for several days.
Our current time will be Oct. 20, 21 and 22. Since Orion the Hunter doesn’t appear in the sky until early morning hours, the meteors won’t be visible until then.
From about 2 a.m. until the sky gets light.
Orion will rise in the east and climb high in the south. We could see anywhere from 10-20 per hour. Since we’re still on daylight savings time, Orion is still visible at 6 a.m.
These are swift moving meteors which can be very bright. Sometimes they can leave a brief trail of light behind them which looks like a bright line in the sky.
While you’re looking for them, you might look for the zodiacal light in the east. It’s visible from Oct. 15-30. Of course bright Venus will rise in the east with dim Mars above it.
We live in such a great dark area that I can see Mars without needing binoculars.
In the evening Saturn is visible low in the southwest all month. If you go out when the sky is getting dark and see another bright object very low in the sky, it’s Jupiter which won’t be around much longer.
I’m determined to take my telescope out as soon as this wind stops. This is the first year I haven’t had it out in August and September. We’ve either had a full moon or clouds and wind.

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