EYES TO THE SKY
October 15 – 27, 2019
Morning stars for late risers, meteors
I am always giddy at the turning point of the season when red and gold leaves fall by day, darkness falls perceptibly earlier every evening and, during the last few weeks of Eastern Daylight Time, bright stars are visible rather late in the morning. The brightest shine into dawn, or civil twilight, which begins within minutes of 6:40am to 7am for the rest of this month through November 3. Clocks are turned back an hour to Eastern Standard Time on November 4.
The latest sunrise this autumn is at 7:29 on November 3. With the regimen of time change, we return to “real time” on the 4th, when the Sun rises an hour earlier, at 6:30am EST.
The darkness of night, when all naked eye stars and constellations are visible, prevails until about 5:35 this week and 5:50am at month’s end. While temperatures are rather mild, stroll under the star patterns of winter until about 6:30am. Most prominent among them, Orion the Hunter, in the southwest, is the radiant of the Orionid meteor shower, predicted to peak during the hours before first light on Tuesday morning the 22nd, with suggested viewing also on the 21st and 23rd. Even in the absence of light pollution, the last quarter moon will limit visibility to the brightest meteors.
Stir to the sight of harbinger of spring star, Arcturus, which rises in the east-northeast at 6:15am on the 18th; 5:43am on the 26th, to the left of a delicate crescent moon. Seek out a view to the horizon and look in the pre-dawn to dawn sky.
The pleasure of observing Arcturus rise in the morning sky is all the more exciting when we observe it set the night before: at 8:49 tonight, the 15th; 8:37pm on the 18th and 8:07pm on the 26th. Refer to the diagram of the evening sky for details.
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