Starwatch for October 2022

Written by on October 19, 2022

Hello! I’m Karl Hricko of United Astronomy Clubs of NJ and the National Space Society, bringing you the October Starwatch for WNTI.ORG

Watch out! The Orionids are coming to the Earth this month. The Orionids are not aliens from space, but a meteor shower that appears to emanate from the background of stars in the Orion constellation. These visitors come from the remnants of the tail of Halley’s Comet, which comes around to us on an average of every 76 years. It was first recorded by the Chinese in 239 B.C. We last saw it in 1986 A.D., and it should return again in in 2062 A.D. the Comet was never seen by Halley, but was given his name because he predicted it would return in 1758 A.D. and it did – after he died.

The Comet was depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry of 1066 A.D., showing the Battle of Hastings. The artist Giotto had it representing the Christmas Star in his rendition of the Nativity Scene in 1267 A.D. The Comet also marked the date of Mark Twain’s birth, and ushered out his death. He has been said to have quipped, “They came in together, and they must go out together”.

Besides seeing the arrival of the Orionids, after sunset look to the south from left to right to view Mars in Taurus, Jupiter in Pisces, and Saturn in Capricornus. You’ll see Mercury just before sunrise to the east in Virgo. Venus is lost in the glare of the Sun. The Orionid meteor shower will peak between the 21st and 22nd. . So welcome the coming of the Orionids, and scan the night sky for the visible planets.

Until our next Starwatch –  Don’t forget to check out …  What’s up in the night sky!

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