October’s Draconid meteor shower – sometimes called the Giacobinids – radiates from the fiery mouth of the northern constellation Draco the Dragon. Because the radiant is located so far north on the sky’s dome, this shower favors northerly latitudes (for example, U.S., Canada, Europe, northern Asia). In 2015, the evenings of October 8 and 9 will probably be the peak dates.
Draconids, in early October, are usually a sleeper, but watch out if the Dragon awakes! Then watch for Orionids before dawn on the mornings around October 22.
The long-lasting South Taurid meteor shower (September 10 to November 20) may produce a “swarm” of fireballs this month or early next month. Watch for them.
For us sci fi fans, the images released this week from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are a thrill. These are the real-life views of places on Mars where fictional stranded astronaut Mark Watney – from the book and new Hollywood movie The Martian – undergoes his many trials.
On October 6, 1995, astronomers announced the discovery of the first planet in orbit around a distant sunlike star. This planet is designated as 51 Pegasi b, and it’s what’s known today as a hot Jupiter.
Get up before sunrise on October 7 and you can’t miss the moon and the sky’s two brightest planets adorning the predawn/dawn sky. From top to bottom, the celestial line-up features the moon, Venus and Jupiter – the brightest, second-brightest and third-brightest celestial bodies of nighttime, respectively.
If you want to imagine standing on the surface of the Red Planet Mars … look at this. Here’s what you’d see if you were riding aboard the Curiosity rover on Mars, right now.
Roads washed out. People trapped in cars. Seven deaths as of Sunday evening. And it’s still raining, but the rain should taper off by Monday night.
NASA has set a target date of 2030 for a manned mission to Mars. How close are we to actually becoming Martians?
Longest lunar month of 2015 starts with the October 13 new moon and ends with the November 11 new moon. Learn about the varying lengths of lunar months, here.