Skywatch: The Orionids peak this week


The week starts out with a meteor shower tied to a famous winter constellation. The Orionid meteor shower will peak early on Sunday morning under dark skies a few hours before sunrise.

The shower is caused by leftover debris from Halley’s Comet. The waxing gibbous moon will wash out all but the brightest meteors but it will set Sunday morning at 4:28 a.m. which means you’ll have a few hours of moon-free sky.

About 10-20 meteors are possible per hour with this show, the shower’s radiant will be in the southwestern sky. Find a dark place, far away from the city lights for best viewing. If you're out early on Monday or Tuesday morning you may see a few stragglers.

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The Full Moon will arrive at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday. This month’s Full Moon is also known as the Full Hunter’s Moon. Named because this was traditionally the time of year for hunting game that has fattened through the summer.

It’s also known as the Full Dying Moon. Look for it Wednesday night.

Courtesy: NASA

Earth, Venus and the sun will align on Friday morning around 10 a.m. That is when the planet will be in something known as inferior conjunction. Because Venus is closer to the sun than Earth it’s known as an inferior planet.

This means there are times when the planet, the sun and Earth all line up with Venus in the middle. That is what will happen Friday morning. Sadly, Venus will be lost in the sun’s glare in the coming evenings. Happy hunting!