October brings two full moons, Halloween and an incredible Orionid meteor shower, giving stargazers an incredible experience
October has so many surprises for all the stargazers out there. Hundreds of shooting stars will light up the October sky and the Orionid meteor shower is definitely something you don’t want to miss.
These meteors light up the sky each October. The “performance” starts off on Oct. 2 and the final “dance” happens on Nov. 7. According to experts, the peak viewing will take place on the morning of Oct. 21.
This shower happens when our planet goes through the stream of debris Comet Halley left behind. If by any chance you didn’t know, Comet Halley is the parent comet of the Orionid shower.
Experts at the International Meteor Organization said the strength of the meteor shower varies from year to year. We will be able to witness an incredibly strong shower in 2020.
Astronomers explain that meteors move 148,000 miles per hour into the atmosphere. However, their gas trails disappear within a few seconds. NASA explains that the Orionid shower is one of the most amazing showers throughout the year. The meteor shower is visible in both hemispheres after midnight.
“Find an area well away from city or street lights. Come prepared with a sleeping bag, blanket, or lawn chair,” the American space agency revealed in a blog post.
“Lie flat on your back with your feet facing southeast if you are in the Northern Hemisphere or northeast if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible. In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors.”
Comet Halley leaves ice and rocky dust into space. That’s how the Orionid showers are born.
October also brings the rare Blue Moon. It will be visible across all time zones. Of course, you won’t be seeing any blue light. It’s called “blue” because it’s the second full moon to rise in the same month. It will appear in the night sky right on Halloween.
This cosmic wonder happens seven times every 19 years. We will have the chance to see a similar phenomenon in 2039.
People from every part of the world will be able to see it for the first time since WWII.
An article published in the March 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine was the first to present the idea of a second full moon.
James Hugh Pruett wrote the article called Once in a Blue Moon. It referred to the 1937 Maine Farmer’s Almanac, offering a simpler definition.
“Seven times in 19 years there were – and still are – 13 full moons in a year,” he wrote. “This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon.”
The moon can turn blue, but experts do admit that it’s a rare phenomenon. The blue shade will appear only if there are enough large particles of dust and smoke.
In 2020, we will be able to see 13 full moons. We usually get to see 12 full moons each year.