Bryan, Texas (KBTX) – The night sky for the second half of October is filled with plenty of opportunities to observe the sky, all starting Tuesday evening.
Tuesday in opposition
The red planet is in its closest orbit to Earth this year, and will not approach it again until September 2035. This next approach – 38.5 million miles away – occurred on October 6, 2020, which will cause Mars to see an extraordinary amount of brightness throughout October.
On the evening of the 13th when Mars was in opposition. This phenomenon occurs when two planets are exactly opposite each other on the Sun, in which case the Earth is exactly between Mars and the Sun on one side. Opposition occurs at 6 p.m. CDT. When this happens, Mars will begin to rise in the east as the sun sets in the west. When the sun rises on Wednesday morning, Mars will set in the western sky.
The average opposition occurs every two years. This is because it takes twice as long for Mars to orbit the Sun as it does for Earth’s revolution.
With so little in the way of cloud cover, viewers in the Brazos Valley should consider the best view of Mars, as it shines high tonight. Tuesday at 6:56 p.m.
Orionids meteor shower
This year’s biggest meteor shower is at an angle as the Earth passes through debris from Halley’s Comet. If the sky is clear it gives an amazing show of meteor firing through the night sky in late October. The meteor shower is observed from October 2 to November 7, but it is observed on Wednesday, October 21.
The best way to see these meteorites is to give your eyes 20 to 30 minutes to find a place away from the city light and adjust to the darkness. The moon sets just before midnight, creating a dark sky to separate the comets, and a new moon occurs on the 16th, limiting light pollution in the sky.
Having a new moon in the middle of the month means that there is a full moon around the corner. Two full moons will be unveiled this October. The first occurred on October 1, and was called the Harvest Moon. The second will take place on October 31st Halloween. It’s called the Hunter’s Moon.
It is very rare for two full moons to occur in a month, but when that happens it is called the Blue Moon. Each full moon cycle lasts 29 days, and similar to Leap Day, time is the second full moon to occur within a calendar month. This happens on average every two and a half years, the previous event being in March 2018.
Find time to enjoy the views from the rest of October. If you can take a great photo or video, we’d love to share it with you! Click Here To submit photos or videos.
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