Hunting for Orion on an October Morning

Cast off from Halley’s Comet, they fall.

This October day, ice and dust burning.

Orionid meteor stream, first quarter moon setting.

Dark midnight dome, then – Look! – dawn sky –

Sirius, Venus, Jupiter! All is right today.

 

The Orionids stem from debris from the most famous of all comets, Comet Halley, which last visited Earth in 1986 and will return next in 2061. Those bits of comet ice and dust look like streaks of light in the night sky – shooting stars. The best time to view is between the hours of midnight and dawn – regardless of your time zone, and in 2015, the first quarter moon sets in the late evening or near midnight on October 20, leaving the morning hours dark for meteor watching. The radiant point for the Orionids is in the direction of the constellation Orion the Hunter.  Also, in the predawn and dawn sky, look for Sirius, the sky’s brightest star. And the planets Venus and Jupiter are also very bright – brighter than Sirius – and visible in the sky before dawn.  via earthsky.org

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