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From Meteors To Mars: Plenty Of Interesting Things To See In The Night Sky This Week

Oct 19, 2020

A faint Orionid meteor above the University of Michigan’s radio telescope up on Peach Mountain.
Credit Brian Ottum
The Orionid Meteors should be visible Tuesday, October 20th in the night sky.  The moon sometimes impedes the view, but that is not expected to be the case this year.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry talks with Saline amateur astronomer Dr. Brian Ottum about the meteors and the recent phenomenal view of Mars in the night sky.


Mars
Credit Brian Ottum

Sky watchers may be able to catch a meteor shower this week in the night or early morning sky. according to a local astronomer.

 

The Orionid meteor shower is expected to peak early October 21st, according to Dr. Brian Ottum, an amateur astronomer who lives in Saline.  That’s when Earth is passing through the stream of debris left behind by Halley’s Comet, the parent comet of the Orionid shower.  He says they should be visible after 10 PM, peaking between 4 AM and 6:30 AM.

 

Dr. Ottum says these are fast moving meteors that "zip through the sky" and leave a smoke trail, which is an amazing thing to see.

 

He says no telescope or binoculars will be necessary, advising sky watchers to simply “look up,” perhaps towards the southern or southeast sky.

 

He says the Orionid meteors zip quickly through the sky and leave a smoke trail, which should be easier to see, due to the phase of the moon, which will not outshine them this year.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu