This calendar of celestial events is frequently updated.
Check out what's happening in the sky this autumn!
- October 8 - Draconids Meteor Shower. The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of the early morning like most other showers. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the night of the 8th. This will be an excellent year to observe the Draconids because there will be no moonlight to spoil the show. Best viewing will be in the early evening from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- October 8 - New Moon. The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 7:47 pm AK time. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
- October 21, 22 - Orionids Meteor Shower. The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. It peaks this year on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22. The nearly full moon will block some of the fainter meteors this year, but the Orionids tend to be fairly bright so it could still be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- October 23 - Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
- October 24 - Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 8:46am AK time. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Hunters Moon because at this time of year the leaves are falling and the game is fat and ready to hunt. This moon has also been known as the Travel Moon and the Blood Moon.
Use star wheels and astrolabes to find celestial bodies!
Sea and Sky has a yearly calendar to help you plan future outings.
Top Image: Midnight Sun by H. Robertsson. Bottom image: Perseids Meteor Shower NASA/JPL.
This project was funded under NASA cooperative agreement NNX16AL65A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.