Orionid meteor shower visible in October

Weather permitting, stargazers may expect a treat in October as the Orionids meteor shower will be active from October 17 to 25, state astronomers said Monday.

PAGASA OIC administrator Vicente Malano said the Orionids are fast meteors and may even have fireballs.

"At maximum rates, the shower may reach 15 meteors per hour that may be observed at favorable sky condition, but sometimes there are lulls even during the traditional maximum peak nights of October 21-22, 2013," Malano said.

He also noted that in 1993 and 1998, a sub-maximum peak as strong as the normal peak was recorded on October 17-18 from Europe.

Stars and constellations

PAGASA said the Square of Pegasus will be visible after sunset, which it said is a sign of the arrival of the northern fall.

At its northeast is the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the closest large spiral galaxy to the Milky Way.

"Under clear skies and with the aid of a star map and familiarity with the surrounding background stars, it can be seen as an elongated misty patch with the naked eye and can be easily viewed through binoculars and telescopes," Malano said.

Malano also said the "W" formation of stars known as the Cassiopeia lies to the left, while Pisces can be found at the lower right of the square of Pegasus.

Also, PAGASA said the famous equilateral Winter Triangle rises after midnight, formed by Betelgeuse, the super giant red star and the prominent star of the famous constellation Orion, Sirius, and Procyon.

Planets

Malano said that two hours before sunrise on Oct. 7, Jupiter will shine at magnitude -1.80 while Mars glows at magnitude +1.6.

Both will be located at about 57 and 22 degrees above the eastern horizon, respectively, and will be observable in the early morning throughout October.

On the same date, after sunset, Venus, Saturn, Mercury and the very thin Waxing Crescent Moon may be observed and photographed "under favorable normal cloudless sky," he said.

Neptune and Uranus will trek across the cosmic ocean formed by the background stars of the constellations Aquarius and Pisces in October.

"Both planets will be found above the eastern horizon after sunset and will be visible throughout the evening sky during the month. A star map, binocular or a moderate sized-telescope and a cloudless/clear evening sky will be needed in observing these planets," Malano said. — TJD, GMA News

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