Deborah Byrd

All you need to know: Orionid meteor shower

Details on the annual Orionid meteor shower.  How and when to watch. In 2019, the peak mornings are probably October 21 or 22. But try watching now, before dawn, despite a bright moon.

All you need to know: 2019’s Hunter’s Moon

The coming full moon – Hunter’s Moon for the Northern Hemisphere – is October 12-13. Will it be bigger, brighter, more colorful? All you need to know here.

It’s been 20 years since the Day of 6 Billion

Our global human population was estimated to reach 6 billion on today’s date in 1999. Eleven years later, in 2011, Earth had gained another billion people. Today – October 12, 2019 – it stands at about 7.7 billion, according to United Nations estimates.

Watch for Earth’s shadow and the Belt of Venus

Look east after sunset – or west before sunrise – for Earth’s shadow. It’s a deep blue-grey band, curved as Earth is curved, moving opposite the sun. The Belt of Venus is the subtle pink band above the shadow.

Watch for Sirius, sky’s brightest star

Out late at night or before dawn? Look for Sirius, a brilliant beauty of a star. You’ll always know it’s Sirius if you see Orion’s Belt pointing to it.

This is rock, but it looks like a dry lake bed.

Curiosity finds an ancient oasis on Mars

Scientists working with the Curiosity rover have found salt-enriched rock at a place called Sutton Island on Mars. The rocks suggest ponds with briny water on Mars, billions of years ago.

Orange Arcturus sparkles after sunset

On October evenings, look for brilliant Arcturus in the west, flashing in colors. Follow the curve in the Big Dipper’s handle to this yellow-orange star.

Animation: Venus in late 2019 and early ’20

Looking for Venus? It’s already visible to Southern Hemisphere viewers and will soon come into view in the west after sunset for us in the Northern Hemisphere. This video tracks a telescopic view of Venus from when it reappears again to May 2020.

Watch for Draconid meteors in 2019

The Draconid shower will likely produce its greatest number of meteors on the evening – not after midnight – of October 8, 2019. Try the nights of October 7 and 9, too.

All you need to know: Draconids in 2019

October’s Draconid meteor shower – sometimes called the Giacobinids – is expected to peak at nightfall or early evening on October 8, 2019, though under a moon-drenched sky. Try watching the evenings of October 7 and 9, too.