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Posts Tagged ‘Orionids’

10/19/2017 – Ephemeris – Bits of Halley’s Comet will rain down on Earth this weekend

October 19, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, October 19th. The Sun will rise at 8:03. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 6:50. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

The Orionid meteor shower is ramping up. This is the second of two visits of bits of Halley’s* comet this year, and every year, really. These are particles shed by the comet in past visits to the inner solar system. They are pretty much evenly strewn out along its orbit. The comet itself is now out past Neptune, and will reach aphelion, its farthest distance from the Sun around 2024, poised to head back to the inner solar system in 2061. It was last spotted in 2003 when it was just inside Neptune’s orbit. Anyway the Orionid meteors will appear to come from above the left side of constellation of Orion, about where the tip of his club is. They are best seen this weekend, in the early morning sky, with a possible 20 per hour visible.
Orionid meteor shower Saturday a.m.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location

* A contemporary of Edmund Halley, Samuel Pepys,  spelled his name Hawley.  We presume he pronounced it that way.

Addendum

Orionid radiant

The Orionid meteor shower radiant at 5 a.m. October 21, 2017. The radiant rises at 11 p.m., so the meteors will be visible from then into morning twilight. Dispite the lication of the radiant, the meteors will b e seen all over the sky.  However true Orionids can be traced back to the radiant point. Created using Stellarium.

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10/20/2015 – Ephemeris – Halley’s Comet returns… in bits and pieces

October 20, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, October 20th.  The Sun will rise at 8:04.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 6:50.   The Moon, at first quarter today, will set at 12:53 tomorrow morning.

Halley’s Comet is back!  Well sorta.  In the form of the Orionid meteor shower.  Bits of Halley’s Comet from previous passes by the Earth’s orbit make their twice yearly show in our skies as these bits collide with the Earth’s atmosphere.  Halley’s orbit passes close to the earth’s orbit at points where the Earth is around May 6th and again near October 21st.  Light dust get blown back into the tail of the comet.  Heavier particles, still affected by the pressure of sunlight and the gravitational pull of the Sun and planets end up roughly following the comet’s orbit.  Tonight night after the Moon sets should be the best time to see them.  They will seem to come from a spot above Orion and below Gemini.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Orionid Radiant

Orionid Radiant

Halley's meteor shower

We get two meteor showers from Halley’s Comet. The Orionids, when Halley is approaching the inner solar system, and the Eta Aquariids when it’s leaving. Credit my LookingUp program.

05/05/2015 – Ephemeris – Eta Aquariids, an early visit of Halley’s Comet

May 5, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 5th.  Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 24 minutes, setting at 8:52.   The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 10:29 this evening.  Tomorrow the Sun will rise at 6:26.

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower will reach peak tomorrow morning.  But the Moon will be bright, so only the brightest of them will be seen.  However if you’re waiting to see the return of Halley’s Comet, you needn’t wait until the main body of the comet returns in 2061.  Halley’s Comet has made many passes of the inner solar system in recorded history, and many more before that, returning to the inner solar system every 76 years or so, before returning to its frigid home beyond Neptune.  It’s closest to the Sun, called perihelion is inside Venus’ orbit.  On the way in and out it passes close to the Earth’s orbit.  It has left a trail of debris, which we pass through in May and again in October.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Eta Aquarid radiant

The Eta Aquariid radiant at 5 a.m. The radiant moves slowly to the east with time. Credit:  My LookingUp program.

Halley's meteor shower

We get two meteor showers from Halley’s Comet. The Orionids, when Halley is approaching the inner solar system, and the Eta Aquariids when it’s leaving. Credit:  My LookingUp program.

10/20/11 – Ephemeris – The Orionid meteor shower

October 20, 2011 Comments off

Thursday, October 20th.  The sun will rise at 8:03.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 6:50.   The moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:40 tomorrow morning.  |  The Orionid meteor shower will reach its peak tomorrow morning.  Like most meteor showers, this is best seen just before dawn.  As the name suggests the so-called shooting stars will seem to come from the constellation Orion the hunter.  They will appear to come from above the rectangular torso of the giant.  These meteors actually have nothing to do with Orion, but they are the light flashes from bits of rock that were once part of Halley’s comet, as they burn up in the earth’s atmosphere.  In Halley’s many passes close to the sun, much of its solid material has been liberated by the evaporating gasses, leaving a trail of litter in its orbit.  The earth passes through this debris every May and now, in October.

* Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Orionid Radiant

Orionid Radiant

10/03/11 – Ephemeris – More celestial events for this month

October 3, 2011 Comments off

Monday, October 3rd.  The sun will rise at 7:42.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 37 minutes, setting at 7:19.   The moon, at first quarter today, will set at 12:10 tomorrow morning.

We have more celestial happenings this month than I could enumerate last Friday.  Later on Saturday evening, if it’s clear the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will join with astronomy groups, planetariums and observatories with International Observe the Moon Night with telescopes positioned on the 200 block east Front Street in Traverse City, near the Martinek clock.  Going on that same evening will be the return of the Draconid meteor shower.  Its a favorable return of a periodic shower but interferes with by the bright moon.  However some bright meteors will be seen.  I’ll have more information and background Thursday.  Another meteor shower later this month will be the Orionids a morning shower related to Halley’s Comet.

* Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.