October Skies: All the Planets, Meteor Showers, Events to Watch Out for this Month
The fall sky is destined to delight sky watchers all over the world. This October 2016, the heavenly bodies are dancing visibly past the planet; here's the lineup of what can be expected in the skies this month.
According to a report from National Geographic, Mercury is the toughest planet to spot with the naked eye, but it's going to be quite bright in the first week of October. Roughly 45 minutes before sunrise, look for a star-like body in the sky that's about eight degrees above the horizon.
On Monday, October 3, the crescent of a waxing new moon can be seen right above the planet Venus, a report from Washington Post revealed. However, Venus will be visible for most of early October, after dusk and in the low southwestern sky.
Also spot Uranus at its brightest on October 15, the stunning sight of Jupiter and the moon on October 28, and the pretty pair of Venus and Saturn on October 30.
The first half of the month will excite sky enthusiasts in the northern hemisphere as the very rare zodiacal lights will be making an appearance then. Dubbed as the "false dawn", this pyramid-shaped beam of lights is an effect of sunlight reflecting off cosmic dust among planets.
Orionids Meteor Shower
Of course, every October brings with it the Orionids showers, which are caused by debris from Halley's Comet as it passes through Earth. According to a report from Manchester Evening News, the Halley's Comet is only visible from Earth every 75 years, but sky watchers can still enjoy the beautiful meteor shower it brings with it in its annual visit.
The showers will be throughout the month, but it's best show is just past mid-October. Watch out for the explosion of shooting stars on October 21, which is expected to be the peak of the Orionids. There's going to be as many as 20 shooting stars per hour on this day, especially visible in dark areas.