Skywatch: This week's highlight is the Orionid meteor shower

Skywatch: This week's highlight is the Orionid meteor shower

The moon will darken this week which means stargazing will be that much easier as we see less and less light pollution from our natural satellite.

Use a waning crescent moon to help you locate Mars and Venus this week. The two planets will hang low in the horizon with Mars slightly above the bright planet Venus.

On Sunday morning a sliver of moon will hang just above the two in the eastern sky about an hour-and-a-half before sunrise. Leo the lion will look down on the three as well.

Courtesy: NASA

Uranus will reach an orbital milestone this week as well. The gas giant reaches opposition on Thursday.

That means Earth will be sandwiched between the sun and Uranus. In other words, the planet will be opposite the sun in our sky.

Uranus will hang in the sky throughout the night and shine at its brightest. Sadly, the planet is tough to spot with the naked eye.

But if you’re far enough away from the city and you have a decent pair of binoculars you may be able to catch a glimpse.

Look in the east in the evening, south to overhead around midnight and west in the morning of the 20th. The planet will sit in the constellation of Pisces.

As mentioned before the darkening moon will aid in stargazing this week. The New Moon officially occurs at 3:12 p.m. on Thursday but light pollution will be at bay for the entire week.

That lack of light pollution will help in viewing an annual meteor shower. The Orionid meteor shower is expected to peak on Saturday morning.

Even though some meteors could be visible Friday night this shower is typically most active in the early morning hours. Caused by debris from Halley’s Comet the shower typically produces 10-20 meteors per hour.

The radiant is from near the club of the famed hunter Orion and is expected to be in the southeastern sky in the pre-dawn hours.

As always, find a dark place as far away from the city as possible for the best show.

Happy hunting!