The Late October 2020 Sky

The Late October Sky by Richard Camuccio / October 20, 2020As we progress through the month of October, we are faced with the changing of leaves, cooling of temperatures, and many interesting astronomical phenomena... Orionids and Transit of the Great Red Spot The Orionid meteor shower occurs each year between September 23rd and November 17th, caused by the passage of Earth through the debris field left behind by Comet 1P/Halley. The shower peak will occur around midnight on October 21st, with possible rates of up to 10-20 per hour. Although the peak rate is relatively infrequent, the Orionids are particular fast, reaching speeds of up to 66 kilometers (41 miles) per second. They should be quite noticeable if one observes as much of the sky as possible (using peripheral vision) and directed away from the radiant point of the shower in Orion's Club.Also taking place on October 21st is a transit of the Great Red Spot of Jupiter across its central meridian around 7:31 pm CDT. Any astronomers with modest aperture telescope and camera optics could capture this despite the sunlight of the evening sky. Ceres Completes Retrograde Loop On October 23rd, the dwarf planet Ceres will change direction in the sky, thereby completing its retrograde loop. In other words, the Earth will have overtaken Ceres in its orbit around the Sun. Ceres will be at a visual magnitude of 8.6,…

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