Watching the Skies: Full moon as Orionid meteor shower peaks

Watching The Skies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A full moon will light up the night sky this week. 

The moon will officially be full at 10:57 a.m. on Wednesday, but will look full Tuesday and Thursday. You’ll be able to see the moon rise around sunset and set around sunrise. 

The full moon of October 2021 is also known as the Hunter’s Moon. This is the name given to the full moon after the Harvest Moon, which is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. Other names for the full moon in October include the Falling Leaves Moon and the Drying Rice Moon.

The nearly full moon reflected on the water over West Michigan on Oct. 19, 2021. (Lori Hostetler/ReportIt)

While you’re out observing the full moon, watch for meteors. The Orionid meteor shower will peak this week. 

Thusday is the official peak of the Orionids, but the meteor shower has been active since early October and will remain active until early November. About 10 to 20 meteors per hour are possible in a good year, making the Orionids one of the more underwhelming meteor showers of the year. Light from the full moon will make meteors more difficult to see. Still, there will be a chance of seeing some meteors streak across the sky. 

The Orionid meteor shower happens each year as the earth passes through debris from Halley’s Comet. The radiant point of the meteor shower is the constellation Orion, but there’s no need to look in a specific direction while trying to spot meteors. Just try to get away from city lights and look up. 

The moon passed by Jupiter and Saturn last week. Randy Zick captured a picture of the three. 

The moon aligned with Jupiter and Saturm. (Courtesy Randy Zick)

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