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EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2014

Taurid meteor seen by EarthSky Facebook friend Forrest Boone on November 9, 2012 over North Carolina. Thanks, Forrest!

In 2014, the early November meteor showers will be mostly drowned in bright moonlight. Still, you might see a meteor from the South or North Taurid meteor shower streaking along in the light of the moon in the early part of the month. By mid-November the moon will be mostly out of the way for the annual Leonid shower. Follow the links inside to learn about meteor showers in 2014.

Everything you need to know: Leonid meteor shower

The radiant point for the Leonid meteor shower is near the star Algieba in the constellation Leo the Lion. But you don’t have to identify the radiant to see the meteors, which will appear in all parts of the sky.

Every year around mid-November, debris left in the orbit of Comet Tempel-Tuttle strikes Earth’s atmosphere and creates the annual Leonid meteor shower In 2014, the slender waning crescent moon moon won’t interfere. Follow the links inside to learn more about the 2014 Leonid meteor shower.

Moon and Mars in southwest as darkness falls on October 27

2014-oct-27-mars-moon-night-sky-chart

Look in the southwest sky as soon as darkness falls to spot the waxing crescent moon and the planet Mars fairly close to the horizon. Mars shines in front of the constellation Sagittarius, at almost the same point where the sun lodges in front of this constellation on the December solstice.

Cool composite of Comet Siding Spring near Mars

This composite NASA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the positions of comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, which happened at 2:28 p.m. EDT October 19, 2014. Image credit: NASA, ESA, PSI, JHU/APL, STScI/AURA

This composite NASA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the positions of comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, which happened at 2:28 p.m. EDT October 19, 2014. Image credit: NASA, ESA, PSI, JHU/APL, STScI/AURA

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope composite image captures the positions of Comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet. The close encounter took place at 2:28 p.m. EDT October 19, 2014. The comet passed by Mars at approximately 87,000 miles, or about one-third of the distance between Earth and the moon! At that time, the comet and Mars were approximately 149 million miles from Earth.

Video: Lightning photobombs a double rainbow

Amazing double rainbow arcs across the sky. Lightning gets in on the act.

Dates of lunar and solar eclipses in 2015 and 2016

Solar eclipse November 3, 2013 by Ken Christison

Solar eclipse November 3, 2013 by Ken Christison

The next eclipse is a partial eclipse of the sun on October 23. It’ll be visible in North America. Miss it, or want more? Follow the links inside to learn the dates for upcoming solar and lunar eclipses for the rest of 2014 and 2015. Enjoy.

The Brocken Spectre

Photo credit: Conor Ledwith Photography

Photo credit: Conor Ledwith Photography

Brocken Spectre at Lough Corrib, a lake in the west of Ireland, by Conor Ledwith Photography. What a selfie!

Moon, Mars and Antares as darkness falls October 26

2014-oct-26-moon-mars-antares-night-sky-chart

As soon as darkness falls, look low in the southwestern sky for the waxing crescent moon and the red planet Mars. If you have an unobstructed horizon and clear skies, you might even catch the ruddy star Antares near the horizon with either the unaided eye or binoculars. For the Northern Hemisphere, Antares is a fixture of the summer season, and this star’s fading into the evening twilight is a sure sign of autumn drifting toward winter.

Will you see moon, Saturn and star Antares on October 25?

As seen from North America, the waxing crescent moon pairs with Saturn on October 25, Antares on October 26 and Mars on October 27.

As seen from North America, the waxing crescent moon pairs with Saturn on October 25, Antares on October 26 and Mars on October 27.

The young waxing crescent moon, Saturn and the star Antares will be tough to spot on October 25, 2014 for N. Hemisphere observers as dusk ebbs toward darkness. Easier from the S. Hemisphere! By October 26 and 27, the moon will be moving upward in the west after sunset, and it’ll soon sweep near Mars.

When can you see Earth’s shadow?

Night falls when the part of Earth you’re standing on enters Earth’s shadow. Click here to expand this image. Image via NASA

At yesterday’s solar eclipse, the moon’s shadow brushed Earth. But what about Earth’s shadow? You can see it any clear evening. Just like you or me, Earth casts a shadow. Earth’s shadow extends millions of miles into space, in the direction opposite the sun.