Friday, October 21, 2011


One of the things I love more than cheese (there are very few) are astronomic events. Anything unusual happening in the sky will guarantee I'm outside, looking up. I've seen eclipses, supernovae, aurorae and planetary alignments... tonight I'll be observing the Orionid meteor shower, and you should too.

The Orionids are more plentiful in recent years, producing about 10-15 meteors an hour. If you can get to a dark area, before the moon rises sometime this weekend (peak on the nights of 10/21-10/22) you can expect to see fast-moving meteors and fireballs coming from the area of the sky near the constellation Orion. The best viewing window will be after midnight, right before the moon rises. Moon rise is 2:51am tomorrow, and 3:57 Sunday morning.

To learn more about the Orionids, check out's article. For a dark-sky viewing location, there is a map of the US with the light pollution levels, measured on the Bortle scale located here. The closest dark spot to Dallas is the Caddo National Grasslands northeast of here.

Nothing makes me feel more connected to the universe than to watch parts of the vast beyond rain through the atmosphere. Unless I go to space, it has to come to me.

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