The moon and meteors light up the night
Science & Technology

The moon and meteors light up the night

Saturday night’s all proper … for skywatching: Tonight’s largely clear skies over Western Washington ought to present alternative to see the peak of the Orionid meteor shower, and an excellent alternative to take a look at the practically full moon on International Observe the Moon Night.

The moon is certain to one-up the meteors: With the full section just some days away, it’ll be in the sky practically all night, washing out most of the Orionids’ fainter flashes. Nonetheless, the weekend timing and the sky cover forecast might make it value your whereas to get out of city and see the present.

Clear, darkish skies will provide help to maximize your meteor-viewing expertise. The skies are usually clearer and darker if you get away from metropolis lights in addition to the foggy circumstances which are anticipated to develop in the central Puget Sound space.

The Orionids construct up to a peak yearly round Oct. 20-21 when Earth swings by a path of cosmic grit left behind by Halley’s Comet. The meteor depend can rise to 50 meteor sightings per hour, however this 12 months’s present isn’t anticipated to be that prolific. The forecast requires 15 to twenty sightings underneath optimum viewing circumstances.

Though the Orionids appear to originate from a degree in the constellation Orion, they’ll flash in any location in the sky, so preserve your subject of view as broad as attainable. To attenuate the moon’s glare, attempt to discover a viewing spot the place buildings, timber or mountains block out the moon in western skies throughout the optimum post-midnight hours.

We’ve got a top-five list of meteor-viewing locations in Western Washington, and due to this weekend’s temperature inversion, the possibilities of clearer skies are higher at larger elevations. For extra common meteor-watching ideas, check out our guide to August’s Perseid meteor shower.

Tonight additionally brings the annual outreach alternative for watching the moon: Worldwide Observe the Moon Night. NASA schedules the event for when the moon shouldn’t be fairly full, so {that a} shut look reveals the shadows and the terminator line between light and darkish on the lunar floor.

Hundreds of events are on the schedule, together with a smattering in Western Washington. For instance, the Whatcom Association of Celestial Observers is planning a party at Bellingham’s Boulevard Park, starting at 6:30 p.m. Carry your binoculars or your telescope — plus one thing heat to put on when the solar goes down.

In the event you completely miss out on the Geminids, there’s all the time the subsequent meteor bathe to sit up for: The Leonids hit their peak on Nov. 17-18, adopted by the Geminids on Dec. 13-14, and the moon gained’t be a lot in the manner for both of these showers.

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