By Mario Carr
Two minor meteor showers will grace our skies this month.
The Draconid meteor shower peaks Sunday, Oct. 8 and is best seen just after sunset. The shower appears to be coming from the Draco constellation. The Orionid meteor shower also peaks and is best seen during the evening of Friday, Oct. 20 into the morning of Saturday, Oct. 21.
This year, the moon sets early Friday evening, leaving a darker sky to help you spot streaking meteors. Don’t expect a show like the Perseids meteor shower back in August when it was possible to see up to 100 meteors per hour.
During the Orionids, you would be lucky to see 20 meteors per hour. The best way to enjoy any meteor shower is to lay on a blanket or lounge chair in a dark location and stare up into the night sky to enjoy the show.
Here are October stargazing events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.
Mercury appears low in the western evening sky later in the month. Venus loses its dominance as it moves lower in the eastern dawn sky. Mars is seen in the dawn sky. Jupiter is low in the south western evening sky early in the month. Saturn is low in the south western evening sky setting late evening.
Oct. 5 – Venus is extremely close to Mars in the eastern dawn sky. The Full Moon called the Hunter’s Moon rises at sunset.
Oct. 13 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers annual general meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m, Spectator Building, 44 Frid St., Hamilton. Free admission, door prizes and everybody is welcome. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected and appreciated. Kevin Salwach will discuss this day in astronomy.
Oct. 17 – The Moon is close to Mars and above Venus at dawn. Sunlight reflecting off dust particles in the solar system, known as Zodiacal Light, can be seen from a dark location in the eastern predawn sky for the next two weeks.
Oct. 21 — Public observing at the Grimsby Niagara Gateway Tourism Centre.
Oct. 24 – The Moon is above Saturn in the evening sky.
For more information, see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323. The club offers a basic astronomy course for members.
Mario Carr is the club’s director of publicity and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarioCCarr