Stargazing, from Halley’s exhaust to Meteor Shower this week: how to watch

The moonless sky will create the perfect backdrop for "Shooting Stars."
Stephen Vicinanza
Meteor Shower Across The Night Sky
Meteor Shower Across The Night Sky

Meteors 

Halley’s comet is back, you ask. It is not, that event won’t happen until 2061, but this week the celestial exhaust from the comet can be glimpsed during the Orionid meteor shower.

Earth will move into the streams of particles left over from the massive comet since it has moved back into its orbital path. This week could have some of the best showers for all of 2022. That’s because the showers happen during the deeper dark of moonless night skies.

Follow this week’s stargazing objects from Forbes

Today, October 17, 2022: The final quarter moon in Gemini

Tonight, the natural satellite will reach its last quarter phase. In stargazing terms the Moon will rise after midnight, clearing the way for 10 consecutive nights of moonless skies. The moon will reach its rise a little after midnight and shine beneath to two brightest stars in Gemini, Castor (upper) and Pollux (lower).

Friday, October 21, 2022

From the small hours of Friday at 21:00 hours until the early morning hours of Saturday is the peak of the Orionid meteor shower. There is no need for binoculars or a telescope, but use them if you have them, it will be visible to the naked eye.

There are between 10 and 20 visible meteors streaking across the night sky as “shooting stars.” This number is a per-hour rate, and the moonless skies will be clear and conducive to gazing eyes.

There will be a waning crescent Moon, only 17% lit, and rise’s about 3:30 a.m. The view should be best after midnight.

The Orionid meteor shower is caused by the dust and debris left in our Solar System by the infamous Halley’s Comet. Although the meteors can appear from anywhere in the night sky, the radiant point for the showers is the constellation, Orion. This can be further reduced to the area around the red supergiant star Betelgeuse.

Stargazing, from Halley’s exhaust to Meteor Shower this week: how to watch
Halleys Comet

Saturday, October 22, 2022, Venus behind the Sun

Our sister planet, Venus was around for most of 2022 as a “Morning Star” but will pass around the back side of the Sun on Saturday. In the next few months Venus will emerge into the evening sky. It will brighten as it approaches closer to Earth. There is always an entirely predictable increase in UFO sightings (That is a fact, not a guess).

“Shooting Stars:” what to know

“Shooting stars are caused by particles that are smaller than a grain of sand hitting the Earth’s atmosphere. As they move into the atmosphere, they energize and glow for a millisecond as the energy is discharged as photons.

The key to viewing many “Shooting Stars” is to look into the night sky and continue to look for some time. There is no time for smartphone checking, as not only will you miss the “shooting stars,” the white light from the phone will kill your night vision.

Although meteors can appear anywhere in the night sky, you can look anywhere, the display during a shower will be best at the radiant point. The radiant point is the place where Earth atmosphere is colliding with the densest part of the meteor stream. When that point is highest in the sky, the greatest number of “Shooting Stars” are visible.