Tonight: Celestial trio to meet up after sunset
Get ready for a celestial gathering of the solar system's largest planets and the moon after sunset on Oct. 14. This alignment will provide an opportunity for stargazing before the season gets colder.
A celestial trio will meet up in the evening sky right after sunset Thursday, offering a great chance for stargazers to set up their telescopes one last time before colder air settles across the United States.
Stargazing can be a fun family activity, but with colder air on the horizon and winter right around the corner, some may elect to pack up the telescope and wait until next year for the warmer months to return before peering through an eyepiece again.
This week’s gathering of interesting objects could be one last hoorah before colder air settles across the U.S.
Jupiter, Saturn and the moon have convened in the night sky every month throughout most of 2021, and October will be no exception.
The three will be bunch together in the southern sky shortly after nightfall on Oct. 14. Each of the celestial objects will appear bright enough to see with the unaided eye.
Jupiter and Saturn will not appear as bright as they did during the summer when the planets were at opposition, around the time when they are closest to the Earth. The Earth has since drifted farther and farther away from Jupiter and Saturn as it continues its journey around the sun.
Planets and the moon are not to scale. The rings of Saturn will not be visible without a telescope. (AccuWeather)
Folks that miss the bunching Thursday evening due to clouds can step outside on Friday evening for a similar view, although the moon will be to the left of Jupiter.
Stargazers that spend more than just a few minutes outside to spot Jupiter, Saturn and the moon should also be on the lookout for shooting stars. The Orionid meteor shower peaks next week and a few early meteors could streak through the sky in the nights leading up to the peak.
Rates this week will only top out at around two to four meteors per hour, but this will increase by the middle of next week with the culmination of the Orionids on the night of Oct. 20-21.
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