A Meteor Shower, ‘Earthshine’ And A Celestial Threesome: What You Can See In The Night Sky This Week

News

Each Monday I pick out the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy and eclipses. 

What To Watch For In The Night Sky This Week: October 19-25, 2020

In a great month for stargazing, this week begins with a beautiful crescent Moon in post-sunset skies, which is always a treat if you’re out for an evening walk. Look to the west for a terrific sight on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

However, this week is mostly about Wednesday’s peak of the Orionids, a meteor shower caused by Halley’s Comet, which last visited the Solar System in 1986. 

MORE FROM FORBESWhat’s That Really Bright ‘Star’ In The Night Sky?

Recommended For You

After seeing “shooting stars” there will be a chance to see the waxing Moon sweep past first Jupiter, then Saturn. It’s another fine week of celestial sights—and next week comes a rare “Hunter’s Blue Moon” on Halloween

Monday, October 19, 2020: Crescent Moon with ‘Earthshine’

Have you ever sen “Earthshine?” Sunlight being reflected from Earth and on to the Moon, “Earthshine” is always occurring, but it’s only visible to the human eye when the Moon is a crescent—and so its brightness doesn’t overwhelm your eyes.

You can see “Earthshine” tonight, and tomorrow night, by looking at the darker limb of the 14%-illuminated crescent Moon, which will be setting in the west soon after sunset.

MORE FROM FORBESYour Stargazing Guide To Fall: One ‘Halloween Blue Moon,’ Two Eclipses And A Once-In-397 Years Sight

Wednesday/Thursday, October 21/22, 2020: Orionids meter shower

The Orionid meteor shower peaks in the very early hours of Wednesday, October 21, 2020 and ought to produce around 10 or 20 “shooting stars” per hour, though perhaps as many as 40. They’re caused by debris left in the Solar System by Halley’s Comet.

Get outside after midnight, when Moon will have long set, and allow your eyes to dark-adapt for at least half an hour to stand a good chance of seeing bits of Halley’s Comet flashing before your eyes. Dark skies will really help with the Orionids, which can be quite faint, though they tend to leave long “trains” behind them.

Thursday, October 22, 2020: Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon form a triangle

The bright planet Jupiter tonight meets an almost First Quarter Moon, with much the dimmer planet Saturn in the same part of the southwestern night sky. They’ll form a triangle with the planets about 2º from the Moon and each other, which will be best seen as soon as it gets dark. 

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes

Articles You May Like

Relativity Space raises $500 million
Covid-19 Patients Are ‘Highly Infectious’ Within Five Days Of Showing Symptoms, Study Shows, Explaining Pandemic’s Rapid Spread
‘Incredible’ Meteor Footage Shows Bright Fireball Blazing Across the Night Sky
Salesforce is in talks to buy Slack, deal could be announced next week
Here’s What You Need To Know About AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *