Meteor Showers


We have a couple of minor back-to-back meteor showers this week and with clear skies the next couple nights, we may be able to see a couple of these “shooting stars”.

The Draconid Meteor shower the next couple nights is usually a rather minor meteor shower, producing 5-10 meteors an hour. While meteors can occur anywhere in the sky, it’s best to be looking more toward the northwest, toward the constellation Draco, the Dragon. Once in a great while, the Draconid meteor shower overachieves, like it did in 1933 and 1946. There have a couple more recent years when the Draconids have looked pretty good in Europe (2011 and 2018), but we’re not expected that this year.

On the 9th and 10th, we have the Southern Taruids. This is another minor meteor shower. You’ll want to look more to the east. The nearly full moon will dim the view a bit this year.

The Orionid Meteor Shower is coming up Oct. 21-22 and that is usually a little better show than the Draconids or Southern Taurids.

international_space_station_after_undocking NASA 110816_259450
International Space Station

Here’s the link to see when the International Space Station and the Cygnus satellite will be visible. No real spectacular flyovers here in mid-October.

There are two planets to see in the evening. Jupiter is in the southwest in the early evening and Saturn is 25° to the left of Jupiter toward the south-southwest in late twilight. Mercury, Mars and Venus are all lost in the glare of the sun right now. Here’s This Week’s Sky and a Glance.

This is a good time to spot the more prominent constellations…the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper – featuring the North Star, Cassiopeia – which looks like the letter W. By midnight Orion the Hunter, with the three stars in a row forming his belt, is climbing higher in the eastern sky as we get closer to winter.

Check out the news from the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Assn. (public viewing Oct. 19), the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society (Public Observing Session Oct. 19) and the Muskegon Astronomical Society. Here’s a link to all the astronomy clubs in Michigan.

Blank sun – no sunspots – pic. from SOHO

The sun is blank right now. We are at the sunspot minimum (11-year sunspot cycle) and we have had 202 days this year (73%) when the sun has had no sunspots.

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