Monday, October 6, 2014

October's Really Cool Nighttime Celestial Events

Hey Folks, lots of really exciting things going on in the skies above us. Check out the following night time celestial events: 

Wednesday October 8th: The Second Blood Red Moon of 2014 will occur. This is worth marking on your calendar and doing whatever you have to in order to see this. According to Space.com, This eclipse favors the western half of North America, the Hawaiian Islands, eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and the eastern half of Australia. Across central and eastern North America, the moon will set while still completely immersed in Earth's shadow. 

Bonus Points: Interestingly, during the total phase, binoculars and telescopes will reveal a sixth-magnitude greenish point of light in the vicinity of the darkened moon: the planet Uranus. In fact, from central and northern Alaska and northern Canada, the moon will actually occult (hide) Uranus during totality — a very rare event! 

October 6-10: Draconids Meteor Shower. Thos 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. Unfortunately the glare from the full moon this year will block out all but the brightest meteors. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky. Reference  

October 19: Near Collision of Comet and Mars. Comet C/2013 A1(Siding Spring) will pass so close to Mars that it’s coma may obstruct the Red Planet from site. An incredible meteor shower will be seen from the surface of Mars (if there were life there). The coma of a comet is the fuzzy round haze that surrounds the head. The coma is formed when a comet passes too close to the sun on a highly elliptical orbit, warms up, and sublimation occurs. Material from the comet change from a frozen solid to gas, bypassing the intermediate liquid stage. 

October 21 - 23: Orionids Meteor Shower. Expect a maximum of about 10 to 20 meteors per hour from midnight to dawn. Fortunately, the moon will be close to new, providing dark skies for this year’s shower. These fast-moving meteors occasionally leave persistent trains. They sometimes produce bright fireballs, so watch for them to flame in the sky. Reference 

Check out this really cool video regarding the Blood Red Moons!