Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Well Molly has been back from vacation for a few days and is hard at it again. I'm almost over the agitating experience of coming back and having to make close to 70 phone calls. Let alone the usual set of mechanical disasters. It also means I'm back to my usual late nights. Good thing this evening as I was doing this, that and the other thing in the yard and at the car, and I had a chance to catch the pairing of the almost full Moon and the planet Jupiter when they were by my own crude estimate only 2 1/2 to 3 degrees apart. Quite striking.

As the diagram shows they will gradually separate over the next few days, but they still make a great sight. Jupiter is almost at the closest approach to Earth (it happened on September 20 last month) that it will have until 2022. The pairing with an almost full Moon (Hunters' Moon this Friday, October 22) makes for particularly good viewing. The best time today was in the early evening. By midnight clouds were already starting to obscure these strangers passing in the night.

The annual Orionid meteor shower is also due this week. The projected peak will be just before dawn on Thursday 21, but the almost full Moon will obscure all but the brightest meteors. The Orionids result when the Earth crosses through the debris of Halley's Comet.

This will probably be a disappointment, but do catch the couple now in the sky.

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