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Each Monday I pick out the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy and eclipses.
What To Watch For In The Night Sky This Week: September 28-October 5, 2020
This week sees the rise of the “Harvest Moon”—guaranteed to be a spectacular sight—before our natural satellite moves super-close to Mars.
It’s also the peak of the Draconids meteor shower, one of the easiest of the year to see given relatively warm evenings. It’s also uniquely convenient; it’s the only display of “shooting stars” of the year to look its best right after sunset.
Thursday, October 1, 2020: The full ‘Harvest Moon’
There are two full Moons this month. Today the “Harvest Moon” will rise at dusk in the east, and should be a magnificent sight. It’s officially “full” at 5:05 p.m. EDT, though that’s not important; watch it as it at moonrise to see it appearing as a pale orangey orb in the eastern sky. Find out exactly when moonrise occurs today in your location—and be patient. It will appear and in a clear sky it will look incredible.
The second full Moon of the month—by that definition a “Blue Moon—will occur on October 31 … yes, a “Halloween Hunter’s Blue Moon!”
Friday, October 2, 2020: Conjunction of the Moon and Mars
Look to the east a couple of hours after sunset and you’ll see the almost full Moon exceptionally close to a bright Mars. It will be super-close close all night long, reaching about 0.7° separation.
Wednesday, October 7: Draconid meteor shower peaks
At their best just after sunset tonight are the Draconids, a suite of shooting stars produced by dust and debris left in the Solar System by Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Expect around 10 shooting stars per hour, which can appear anywhere in the sky, though the “radiant point” of the Draconids—where they appear to come from—is the constellation of Draco the Dragon, a circumpolar constellation in the northern sky
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.