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The Buzz

Keep Your Eyes To The Skies In October And You May Be Rewarded With a Shooting Star




(Photo via Shutterstock)

During most meteor showers, your best chance of catching a glimpse of a shooting star is in the early morning hours, but that's not the case with the upcoming Draconid meteor shower.

The Draconids is a short-lasting meteor shower running from October 6 to October 10, with peak activity the evening of October 8. But unlike other meteor showers, the best time to see meteors from the Draconids is in the evening hours rather than in the morning hours after midnight, according to EarthSky.

This year, the Draconids meteor shower will be even more visible because it occurs just days after the new moon on October 6, meaning the skies will be mostly dark. It's not known to produce large numbers of shooting stars, typically just a handful an hour, but some years it can produce huge numbers of meteors.

A few weeks after the Draconids, another meteor shower, the Orionids, will hit its peak the evening of October 20 to October 21, according to the American Meteor Society. The Orionids began September 26 and will last until November 22, but the best opportunity to view shooting stars from the meteor shower will be during its October peak period. 

The Orionids is a medium-strength meteor shower, typically producing between 10 and 20 shooting stars an hour, the meteor society reports. On some years, however, its peak production is much higher, with between 50 and 75 meteors an hour.

This year, the chances of seeing a shooting star from the Orionids meteor shower will be diminished by the full moon, which will also be on the night of October 20. The bright night sky will make it more difficult to see any meteors. 

The southern Taurids and northern Taurids are both long-lasting meteor showers that are active during October. The southern Taurids runs from September 28 to December 2, peaking the night of November 4 into November 5, the meteor society reports. The northern Taurids kicks off October 13 and lasts until December 2, peaking the night of November 11 into November 12. During the time when they overlap, the Taurids can cause an increase in fireball activity.  

On October 20, the moon will reach its fullest point at 9:57 a.m., but it will appear full in the night sky that evening. The full moon in October is called the hunter's moon because it occurs at a time of year when many Native peoples were preparing to hunt to store up food for winter, according to Farmers' Almanac. Other names for October's full moon include the blood moon and the sanguine moon.

In some years, the October full moon is called the harvest moon.The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, so it can occur in either September or October. Most often, including this year, the harvest moon occurs in September, Farmers' Almanac reports. 

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