Night Sky: Orionid Meteor Shower, Veil Nebula and Other October Highlights


What is behind the Veil?

Thousands of years ago, there was a massive supernova explosion in the constellation Cygnus. The remnants of this explosion formed a nebula called the Cygnus Loop. It looks like this:

Cygnus Loop is about 120 light-years across and has a magnitude of +5. It is believed to be around 20,000 light years away from us. The Swan Loop is also called the Veil Nebula. The leftmost filament of the veil is commonly referred to as the eastern veil, the middle part is the central veil, and the rightmost part is the western veil.

The Veil was first recorded by William Herschel in 1784.

The eastern and western sails are both worth a closer look, so here they are:

What to look for in the October night sky.

Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are always present in our night sky. Both Saturn and Jupiter are visible as soon as the sky darkens, but Mars doesn’t rise until around 10:30 p.m.

The Orionid meteor shower peaking on October 21. The best viewing will be from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Shooting stars will appear to originate from the constellation of Orion in the eastern sky.

Moon phases:

1st Quarter is October 2

The full moon is October 9

The last term is October 17

The new moon is October 25


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