Meteor shower, Orionids, Meteoroid, Halley’s Comet, Star ky Tonight Tour [October 19, 2020 – October 25, 2020]
We will look at the orionids meteor shower where to see it. The peak of it and we’ll take a look at the moon and how it’s going to cozy up to some bright planets in the sky as well. So come on with me now, if you haven’t had a chance already to do so, make sure you go out and take a look at mars in the east, like we mentioned in last, week’s episode mars just went through opposition when it’s opposite of the sun. In the sky and the brightest that you can see it for that year, so is still very bright. Even though opposition already happened. We are still very close to the planet and if you look towards the east after sunset, rising earlier and earlier, actually as we go through the month, you’ll see this bright. Orange reddish almost jewel like star, remember, planets don’t, twinkle like the stars do and so mars is really bright, normally not as bright as jupiter, but it has taken the position as the second brightest planet in the sky. Venus is the brightest, but mars is the second right now and so one of the brightest objects you can see of all of the sky brighter than any star. So definitely take a look, and last week during opposition, which occurred on october 13th, i had a chance to take a telescope out and view the planet and also take some video that allowed me to produce this picture.
And so this is from a 4k video looking through a 9.25 inch cassegrain telescope and video is the best way to capture planetary objects. The sun planets the moon things like that in our solar system and with video you can get many frames per second and that allows you to get all the best frames, because the atmosphere uh between us and the planet can kind of make things shimmer a little Bit and not look as clear, and so if you take video with many frames, you can tease out some of the better frames with some software and then stack those together, and i got a picture like this, which is not too bad for someone who hasn’t done Too many of these planetary, like images and uh, it is still great now so don’t worry if you missed the opposition. Mars is still going to be very bright for the rest of the month and even for the rest of the year as well, but especially the month of october, and it is great naked eye. Viewing is still wonderful, but even better through a telescope or binoculars. You’Ll. Really see the kind of roundness of the planet really makes it look different than like another star in the sky, which is great uh, but definitely take a look at mars right now, rising in the east and of course, the later you stay up. The higher mars will get in the sky and so get higher above that horizon and even a little bit clearer as it moves above that area early in the week.
We can look forward to the peak of the orionid meteor shower, and this is a meter shower that we usually can expect from october 2nd through november 9th, but this year the peak of it happens on the evening of the 20th or the morning of the 21st. Really, the best time is the morning of the 21st and even days before and after as well, meteor showers usually best occur between midnight and sunrise, and so we got ta get out there late and look around for maybe a streak of light across the sky. Normally sometimes we call that a shooting star but really it’s a little grain of dust or uh particle that is burning up in our upper atmosphere at tremendous speed, meter showers, when we can expect to see a bit more depends on which one we’re looking at so For this meter shower, this is occurring, or at least radiating out of a point in orion that’s, why we call it the orionids, and so, if we look here in the southeast very early before sunrise on the 21st, really the best time to see this, you can Find orion the hunter here, a really well known winter, constellation that you may know of, and we talk all about so you’ll notice, the belt of orion, his shoulders legs and feet, and his club, which is a little harder to see, is kind of up here. Let’S turn on his outline and you can kind of see that there and near his club is the radiant point for this meteor shower and there it is in that area.
Now, when i say radiant point, this is not where you’d see them directly here, what you’ll notice is, if you watch meteors in any part of the sky at this time of the year, you can trace them back to this point at least most of the meteor. Some of them you’ll, see from other meteor showers that can co occur with others, but the main ones one is the orionids here and if you trace many of them back right now, they will radiate from this point in orion the hunter so get out there. Maybe again morning of the 21st or at least late night of the 20 of the 20th and days before, and after is great now for those wondering this meter shower actually comes from a really famous comet, a comet that you’ve, probably all heard of called halley’s comet Or comet halley named after that very famous astronomer, with the same last name, edmund halley, an english astronomer and fun fact. He did not discover this comment. Edmund halley is famous one of the reasons why he’s famous? Is he calculated correctly? The the orbital geometry of comet of now common halley, and so he early in the 1700s. He made his prediction that in 1758 we would see comet halley again because it’s a periodic comet going around the sun every 75 to 76 years, and so he made this prediction. He actually died before 1758, but in that year it was seen and astronomers decided to name the comet after him and so it’s forever known as halley’s comet, and that comet leaves behind a debris trail around the sun and every kind of mid to late october.
We are going through the kind of thicker part of that debris trail and those bits of debris are burning up in our atmosphere at tremendous speed, it’s a very fast meteor shower the meteors shoot very quickly it’s, not the most active type or the one that you’ll See the most of maybe 10 to 20 meteors, but you do have a chance to see them and what’s nice is. The moon is not really out to obscure our view of this meteor shower. If you look around in the early morning, especially of the morning of the 21st, there is no moon to kind of ruin. The view and a couple tips here for those who are really wanting to enjoy this meteor shower. You don’t, need any tools. You don’t need binoculars or a telescope. What you need is mainly patience. It does help to be in a dark place, but what is great to have is maybe a lawn chair or something you can sit in, maybe a blanket to keep you warm or to lay on, depending on where you might be depends on. Of course, the weather and temperature – and maybe some bug spray as well and get out there for at least an hour, but maybe more and really just enjoy not only the meteors that you may see, but just the beautiful view of the night sky and any of The creatures and critters that come out at night, the night can kind of come alive and that, coupled with maybe a couple, meteors or two makes for a really great experience.
And so i really recommend it and spend some time out for a little while to let your eyes adjust and again, maybe in a darker location, so again get out there. Maybe around the peak and on the peak of the morning of the 21st of the orionids radiating out of orion the hunter near his club, but you can see it anywhere in the sky, but you can trace them back to this area. So good luck with meteor viewing. The last thing i want to mention for this week are the goings on of the moon and, where we’ll be seeing it in our sky. So, at the beginning of the week, we’ll see it low in the south west as a very thin crescent. It is a waxing crescent, so we’re, seeing more of the side that is facing earth lit and what’s really great is. If we wait till later in the week, so this is on monday, the 19th very thin crescent. You see here above the horizon and we continue on to the 20th and then the 21st. And if you notice these two objects, we’ve been talking all about them. So if you’ve been following along with these sky tonight programs, you know what these are: the planets, jupiter and saturn jupiter is the much brighter one. Saturn is not as bright a bit farther away from us than jupiter, but they’re both bright. These non twinkling, like objects, they’ve, been great and are very close to each other.
But what is awesome is when the moon kind of joins the party and so still crescent here on the 21st. But if we wait to the 22nd here and on 22nd uh we’ll notice, this is a thursday on that day, you’ll see that the moon is well positioned between almost between jupiter and saturn, so you’ll see jupiter and saturn north of the pretty large crescent moon. Almost first quarter when it’s half full and it makes this kind of nice triangle of the solar system – objects it’s great and in my mind i can’t imagine jupiter and saturn look like eyes. The moon is sort of like the nose and maybe imagine a mouth underneath. I like to kind of imagine or think about these sort of silly shapes kind of helps me to remember uh what will happen and then, when they’re out, it’s sort of fun to kind of think about them, and so that’s going to be really great, at least For us here in this part of the world, this alignment will work out just right which is great and then on nights after you’ll see the moon kind of move a little bit farther away on the 23rd and then by the weekend, you’ll see it already go Through first quarter, more than half full by sunday, so that’s great for a nice kind of grouping, a conjunction of three solar system objects, the moon, jupiter and saturn, and kind of the south southwestern part of our sky, that’s it for another installment of our sky tonight.
Program thanks again for joining us once again hope to see you back next week, and i always say if you want to visit us safely, come by the lowman planetarium we are doing shows every single day in a safe environment. If you want to see us live and in action, doing shows of all different types, so love to see you there, but also digitally as well. So thank you very much.