Tonight offers a rare opportunity to see two of the brightest objects in our sky in very close proximity. Jupiter will appear to be about one finger-width away from the waxing gibbous moon. Also, the bright star Aldebaran, which makes up part of the horns of the constellation Taurus, will be adjacent to them. This will be the closest the moon and Jupiter appear together in the sky until 2026.
Despite the chilly weather, it’ll be a great time to enjoy some stargazing due to the abundance of bright objects on the winter sky.
The Orionid meteor shower peaks this weekend and promises a good show. The peak will occur in the pre-dawn sky of Sunday morning (Oct. 21). Look to the south where the constellation Orion will be on prominent display. The meteors will appear to enter our atmosphere with Orion located close to the heart of the display. The source of the Orionid shower is the famed Halley’s Comet. Dust particles from the comet are left behind during Halley’s orbit around the sun, and every year at this time the earth passes through the debris trail.
According to Discovery.com, the Orionids shower is one of the better meteor events.
“Since 2006, the Orionids have been one of the best meteor showers of the year, with counts in some years up to 60 or more meteors per hour.”
The moon will be full tonight at 11:19 p.m EDT. Technically there’s nothing different about this full moon, it just happens to be the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox. However in times gone past, farmers would use the extra light at dusk and into the night to help bring in crops before the early fall frosts.
Maybe since this is my favorite time of year it just seems to be a little more exciting to see than other full moons. Perhaps since it has its own song and an untold number of “harvest moon ball” dances, it’s much more nostalgic and sentimental? The recording below from the Hal Kemp Orchestra from 1929 is a classic version of the song and embodies the sound of the 1930s with a low clarinet: