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Solar eclipse to meteor showers: When to watch celestial events of October 2023

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October skies are gearing up for a series of breathtaking celestial events. Stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts are in for a treat with two meteor showers, bright planet sightings, and the annular solar eclipse scheduled for mid-month. Here’s the list of must-watch celestial events taking place in October 2023:

FILE PHOTO: A combination of ten pictures shows the progression of a partial solar eclipse near as a jet plane flies by the total solar eclipse in Guernsey, Wyoming U.S., August 21, 2017. (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: A combination of ten pictures shows the progression of a partial solar eclipse near as a jet plane flies by the total solar eclipse in Guernsey, Wyoming U.S., August 21, 2017. (REUTERS)

Draconid Meteor Shower (Oct. 8-9):

The Draconid Meteor Shower, although historically milder, promises up to 10 meteors per hour under ideal conditions. Skywatchers can catch this display from the northwest on the evening of October 8 through the early morning of October 9. To enhance the experience, enthusiasts are encouraged to find a dark-sky location, like a national park, for optimal viewing.

Moon Meets Venus (Oct. 10):

Venus, the sky’s third-brightest object, will grace the eastern sky alongside the moon on October 10 and 11. Observers can spot Venus near our lunar neighbor, with shimmering Regulus visible beside Venus on both nights.

Annular Solar Eclipse (Oct. 14):

The most anticipated event of the month, the annular solar eclipse, will captivate skywatchers in its path of totality on October 14. This extraordinary phenomenon, nicknamed the “ring of fire” due to the moon’s bold orange border, will be visible from parts of the United States, including California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Texas. Accommodations are in high demand as enthusiasts prepare to witness the eclipse, which begins around 11 a.m. ET. For those outside the path, a partial eclipse will still offer a breathtaking sight, or alternatively, NASA will provide a livestream for online viewers.

Orionid Meteor Shower (Oct. 21-22):

Prepare for stargazing awe as the Orionid Meteor Shower graces the night sky from October 21-22, reaching its peak between midnight and dawn. These shooting stars, stemming from Halley’s comet, dazzle observers with their rapid motion. Although the moon’s brightness may affect visibility, heading to a dark-sky park is worth the effort to catch a glimpse of this spectacular event.

Venus Reaches Greatest Elongation (Oct. 23):

On October 23, Venus, the second planet from the sun, will reach its greatest elongation, making it one of the best times of the year to observe this vibrant celestial body. Venus will be furthest from the sun’s glare around 7 p.m. ET, providing sky enthusiasts with a prime opportunity to marvel at its beauty.

Prepare your telescopes and find a comfortable spot, for October’s night skies are set to deliver a series of breathtaking cosmic displays, reminding us of the wonders of the universe. Happy stargazing!

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