Sky Rockets in Flight
This year’s Orionids could be an early-morning delight
The waxing moon reaches first-quarter phase Oct. 18, when it appears due south at dusk and sets around 11:30pm. As the moon fills night by night, it appears 10 degrees to the east and sets a little more than a half-hour later each evening.
The sun sets around 6:20 this week, and as dusk settles to darkness, Jupiter blazes low in the southwest. As the gaseous giant sinks ever-closer to the horizon, it seems to intensify, a result of the distorting effect that earth’s atmosphere has on its light. Shortly after sunset, the star Antares appears halfway between Jupiter and the horizon. While Antares shines a distinct red, it is far more dim than Jupiter and sets by 8pm. Jupiter doesn’t linger much longer, setting before 9pm.
Mars rises with the constellation Gemini around 10:30pm. The red planet has grown distinctly larger and brighter in just the past month, and it will continue to do so as it nears its closest pass by Earth, around Christmas.
High above the east-southeast horizon, Venus, Saturn and the star Regulus greet early risers up an hour or more before daybreak at 7:20am. After last week’s tight conjunction of the three, Venus continues to drift, day by day, toward the horizon. At week’s end, Saturn is five degrees above Venus, but that distance will double by next week. Saturn and Regulus end the week equidistant, with all three objects forming a near line early Saturday; But it will take more than a month before Saturn and Regulus drift 10 degrees apart.
This year’s Orionid meteor shower peaks late Saturday, with top estimates at 20 per hour from 2 to 3am. Keep an eye out for these shooting stars a anytime between 10pm and dawn a few nights before and after peak.
Illustration: © Copyright 1925 M.C. Escher/Cordon Art-Baarn-Holland; Graphics: © Copyright 2007 Pacific Publishers. Reprinted by permission from the Tidelog graphic almanac. Bound copies of the annual Tidelog for Chesapeake Bay are $14.95 ppd. from Pacific Publishers, Box 480, Bolinas, CA 94924. Phone 415-868-2909. Weather affects tides. This information is believed to be reliable but no guarantee of accuracy is made by Bay Weekly or Pacific Publishers. The actual layout of Tidelog differs from that used in Bay Weekly. Tidelog graphics are repositioned to reflect Bay Weekly’s distribution cycle.Tides are based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and are positioned to coincide with high and low tides of Tidelog.