Look up this weekend! Hunter Moon, Jupiter, Draconids should be visible at night
Fall is a great time for stargazing! With the clear, crisp nights ahead of us, it’s the perfect time to check out a few interesting celestial sights this weekend and even next week!
First up is Jupiter. Jupiter pairs nicely with the almost full moon through the weekend. Watch night by night how the moon moves closer to Jupiter and then passes by the planet. Go out one hour after sunset and look east. The pair will rise in a slightly different position the next few nights. All you need is a clear sky on your eastern horizon.
The moon will get fuller and fuller until Sunday. The October full moon is known as the Hunter Moon.
While beautiful and easy to see, the full moon may also make spotting any meteors (or shooting stars) a little more difficult. A minor meteor shower known as the Draconids peaks this weekend. It’s not a very active shower, and it’s been relatively quiet in recent years. You’ll need a really dark patch of sky, far away from city lights to view these. The radiant point in the sky is the constellation Draco. Draco is the eighth-largest constellation with 17 named stars. It’s a circumpolar constellation, so it’s only seen from the Northern Hemisphere and never sets. Draco is highest in the sky during the evening hours, making this meteor shower a bit unique in it’s timing. Most recognize this constellation by the head. The body snakes its way through the northern sky, near the Little Dipper.
This shower may not be visible for many but you never know when you’ll see a shooting star. So if you happen to see one, it’s probably a Draconid or even an Orionid. The Orionids peak in about two weeks.
The best part of all of this is that you won’t need any special equipment to enjoy. Find the the darkest spot to view the night sky near you, bring a blanket or chair and layer up. Dress warmly. Allow your eyes at least 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness and enjoy!