The Orionid Meteor Shower lights up the skies in October, with up to 25 meteors an hour at its peak, which extends from October 20 to 27. However, the best time to observe the show (the peak of the peak, as it were) is overnight from October 21 to 22. The bits of dust that ignite the atmospheric streaks producing the Orionids were left behind from Halley’s Comet. The radiant, or plane, from which the meteors appear to emanate, lies to the left of Orion’s reddish star Betelgeuse and close to the border of Gemini. Orionids are some of the fastest known meteors—if you blink, you might miss one. With the full moon falling earlier in the month, viewers should get to enjoy a relatively dark sky.
For the second month in a row, the full moon falls on the 13th. The hunter’s moon in October will take place on a Sunday at 2:09 P.M. PDT, but it doesn’t rise until just after sunset. Look east to see the full moon ascending in the constellation Pisces. Some of the other, possibly more appropriate, names for October’s full moon are the blood moon or dying grass moon, which fit the Halloween and autumn season. Speaking of Halloween, those who are out trick-or-treating will hopefully be treated to a beautiful view as the sky grows dark—a crescent moon to the southwest, sitting next to Jupiter (the pair float almost 5 degrees apart on October 31) with a backdrop of the Milky Way.