BRIAN, Texas (KBTX) – The night sky in the second half of October is filled with many opportunities to keep an eye on the sky and it all starts on Tuesday night.
Mars in opposition
The Red Planet is in its closest orbit to Earth this year and will not be as close to September 2035. This close approach – just over 38.5 million miles – happened on October 6, 2020 and will make Mars look like extremely bright throughout October.
The evening of the 13th is when Mars is in opposition. This phenomenon occurs when two planets sit exactly on the opposite side of the sun, which means that in this case the Earth sits exactly between Mars on one side and the sun on the other. The opposition takes place at 1
Opposition occurs on average every two years. This is because Mars takes twice as long to travel around the sun as the Earth Revolution.
With a little difficult cloud cover, viewers in the Brazos Valley should be treated to a magnificent view of Mars as it rises tonight and shines brightly. Sunset is at 18:56 on Tuesday.
Orionid meteor shower
One of the largest meteor showers of the year is just around the corner as the Earth passes through a field of debris from Halley’s Comet. This provides a stunning show of meteors shooting through the night sky in late October, provided the sky is clear. The meteor shower is visible from October 2 to November 7, but reaches its peak on Wednesday, October 21.
The best way to see these meteors is to find a place away from city light and give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness. The good news is that the nights leading to the top, the moon will set before midnight, creating a darker sky in which comets stand out, and on the 16th a new moon will appear, which will further limit its light pollution.
With a new moon in the middle of the month, this means that the full moon is just around the corner. This October has two full moons. The first took place on October 1 and was called Harvest Moon. The second will take place on Halloween, October 31. This is known as the Hunter’s Moon.
There are rarely two full moons in a month, but when it happens, it’s called a blue moon. Each full moon cycle lasts 29 days and, like Holy Day, the time consists of a second full moon occurring within a calendar month. This happens on average every two and a half years with the previous instance in March 2018.
Find time to go out and enjoy the sights that the rest of October has to offer. If you can make a great photo or video, we will be happy to share them with us! Click here to submit photos or videos.
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