5 Sky Events This Week: Partial Lunar Eclipse, Halley’s Shooting Stars

This 1986 image of Halley’s comet was taken when it swung by Earth during its 76-year orbit. This week, bits of the famous comet will come falling into Earth’s atmosphere as shooting stars. Credit: NASA/ESA/Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research

Mars and Regulus. Looking high east at dawn on Wednesday, October 16, check out Mars as it pairs up with Regulus, the lead star of the constellation Leo the lion.  The contrast in color between the orange-hued planet and the sparkling white, 79-light-year distant star is particularly striking with the naked eye or binoculars. What makes it so eye-catching is that the pair will appear to be separated by less than two degrees—equal to only four full moons side by side.

Regulus points to ISON.  Skywatchers with backyard telescopes can easily hunt down the much-talked about comet ISON in the pre-dawn skies of October 16 as it passes only two degrees north of the brilliant star Regulus.

Venus and Mars’ Rival.  A half hour after local sunset on Wednesday, October 16 and 17, look low in the southwest for the brightest planet of the evening sky perched above Antares—the lead star in the constellation Scorpius.

For ancient Greeks and Romans the distinct reddish tinge of this 600 light-year distant star reminded them of the Red Planet—hence its name. Look for the cosmic duo to appear separated by less than two degrees—little more than the width of your thumb at arm’s length.

Partial Lunar Eclipse.  On Friday evening, October 18, the full moon—also known as the Hunter’s Moon—glides through the outer edge of Earth’s shadow and undergoes a penumbral eclipse. The deepest part of the eclipse is at 7:50 pm EDT (23:50 UT), when a dark grey shading will appear along the southeastern edge of the moon.

The eclipse will be visible across eastern North America, South America, across Europe, and Africa on Friday night. Sky-watchers on the Asian continent get to witness the partial lunar eclipse at dawn on October 19.

Orionid Peaks. Starting late night on Sunday, October 20 and into the pre-dawn hours of Monday, the Orionid meteor shower peaks. But even though this year’s show will be slightly hindered by a waning gibbous moon, since Orionids are known to be brighter-than-average shooting stars, even sky-watchers in the suburbs can catch some of the action.

The Orionids are believed be a result of material shed from Halley’s Comet. The debris then slams into our atmosphere, creating a trickle of shooting stars.

The Orionids exhibit a maximum of about 20 meteors per hour, and all of them seem to radiate from its namesake constellation, Orion the hunter, north of Orion’s bright ruddy star Betelgeuse.


Tell us—what amazing sky phenomena have you seen lately?

Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter and Facebook.

Andrew Fazekas, aka The Night Sky Guy, is a science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer who loves to share his passion for the wonders of the universe through all media. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic News and is the national cosmic correspondent for Canada’s Weather Network TV channel, space columnist for CBC Radio network, and a consultant for the Canadian Space Agency. As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Andrew has been observing the heavens from Montreal for over a quarter century and has never met a clear night sky he didn’t like.
  • ABC

    Would the Orionid metoer shower visible from India? Whats would be the time for it ?

    • The best times to see the meteor shower will be your local time 10 pm Sunday night till the predawn hours of Monday morning.

  • pavan kumar rayaprolu

    excellent job good. please go a way this idea is fully use full of every student & every person known this lunar what job yr. any way thank you.

  • wilson moncada pluas

    love to have more about everything regarding sky events…galaxies…quasars…black holes….exploration…etc etc….thanks……

  • Paul

    Well, check out the dates please, the Orionids will be Sunday 20th not 19th, also spell check METEOR same sentence… please, National Geographic need to be more professional.

  • syed

    very intersting. so good

  • chelsie

    this is AMAZING!!!!! i’ve never seen haley’s comet!

    • Please keep in mind that the Orionids are tiny bits and pieces that have been shed from Halley’s comet and not the comet itself. We’ll have to wait until 2062 to see it again. Until then we will have to make due with the shooting stars that it has left behind.

  • Nura haruna

    This moon eclipse is not completely round the globe at thesame time in space.
    Please,how did you collect a data?

  • premanand

    Thanks For the Information. Waiting 4 Sunday

  • Your Mum

    ‘Sky Events’ or… as the educated might say ‘Astronomical Events’?

  • Amanda Prestes


  • Kaili

    Is around 4 o clock I’m the morning a good timer to watch the meteor shower.

  • Amed Nelson

    YEs !

  • Jill W

    Thanks, can’t wait to get to a dark sky location!

  • Johnny Utah

    What is the best time to view the meteor shower in Marin Co. California?

  • Abby

    Would this be visible in the Philippines?

  • Azman

    i Hope we can see it from Malaysia


    i m surprise see this image haw can catch ? good timing spend.good to see this image

  • Willis Tapscott

    Thats about 3 40 Alaska time, will it continue through the night?


    I know you heard this story already but I am compelled to share with your readers once again.
    Last summer during a meteor shower on Lake Texoma, my boyfriend and I take a drive to the beach to watch the sky, At the exact time the shower was to begin we watched lights come out of then sky.
    On the South shore there were cars flashing their lights, honking their horns, screaming and jumping around.as this vehichle. ( round in shape with lights going around it in a leftward direction around it) and it hovered over the water so very close to where my boyfriend and I were sitting.
    we had positioned ourselves so that we were facing the part of the sky the meteor shower would be coming from. I remember having to look over my right shoulder to watch it drop and dessend into the water… I noticed the lights quickly changed the leftward pattern and just for a second moved in the opposite di8rection. only for the lights positioned toward what I assumed was the front. it quickly backed up and out of the water and rejoined several more high in the sky.
    that’s not the last time I’ve witnessed weird happenings over this lake.
    sky events could be the tale tell sign that everything we’ve been told could be coming to be in our lifetime.

  • anasah

    well… i think it’ll be really awesome but
    will i be able to see the Orionid Peaks in the middle of a city?
    i mean i’m living in Doha i don’t know if i’ll be able to see it or not :'(

  • jessica

    Hi I love looking at the sky at night do it every night is the eclips and shootings visible from phoenix if so what time please let me know thanx

  • Hugo Molapo

    Hi. I guess this are exciting times of our life’s. But some of us will not be able to see the 2062 Halley’s comet. Sad hey.

  • ANA

    Please, tell me if it’ll be possible to see Orionid Peaks from my contry. Is it necessary any equipment to see?


  • Redrick McCoy

    Very cool story. I look up tot he stars every night. To know if and where these marvles were to be present, one would have to know the axis of the Earth down to science. Someone such as an Astronomer. What a great job these people and Meterologists have. To be current on so much would be a blessing. Nature and History at its finest.

  • Wanderley Silva

    Last night I was at my grandmother’s farm and the cellular just works outside the house, so I went out to talk to my friend and the, I looked upp into the sky and I saw some big star up in the sky passing so fast and getting bigger at the same time and suddenly It desapeared! So incredible and amazing. I don’t if someone recorded it, it would be awesome to see it again!

  • manjunath raju cr

    This october(2013) is very special because 76 years once the Lunar Eclipse is coming onto Earth at friday night from 3.10am to 7.15am

  • Hugh

    Just seen a shooting star at 10:10pm. Amazing sight

  • amazing

    I am really looking forward to this! thx 4 posting it!

  • someone

    when will we see it in NC?

  • Chinta Ezra

    Sounds cool & would be a sight! Would these sky events be visible from my country- Papua New Guinea?

  • Gary Edwards

    Hi Wanderley Silva
    I’m taking a guess but the large star you saw crossing the sky and getting bigger and bigger then disappearing May well have been one of two things.
    1. The ISS (International Space Station)
    This can be clearly see with the naked eye looking like a huge star crossing the sky.
    2. An Iridium Flare
    This is where an Iridium satellite reflects the suns rays from its solar panels while traveling above the earth.
    Both these are great to see and, if you put where you are are into the GoSatWatch APP (I think it’s free) and you will be able to find out exactly when and where to look in the night sky.
    Happy hunting.

  • Babu G. Ranganathan

    SCIENCE SHOWS THAT THE UNIVERSE CANNOT BE ETERNAL because it could not have sustained itself eternally due to the law of entropy (increasing energy decay, even in an open system). Einstein showed that space, matter, and time all are physical and all had a beginning. Space even produces particles because it’s actually something, not nothing. Even time had a beginning! Time is not eternal. Popular atheistic scientist Stephen Hawking admits that the universe came from nothing but he believes that nothing became something by a natural process yet to be discovered. That’s not rational thinking at all, and it also would be making the effect greater than its cause to say that nothing created something. The beginning had to be of supernatural origin because natural laws and processes do not have the ability to bring something into existence from nothing. What about the Higgs boson (the so-called “God Particle”)? The Higgs boson does not create mass from nothing, but rather it converts energy into mass. Einstein showed that all matter is some form of energy.

    The supernatural cannot be proved by science but science points to a supernatural intelligence and power for the origin and order of the universe. Where did God come from? Obviously, unlike the universe, God’s nature doesn’t require a beginning.

    EXPLAINING HOW AN AIRPLANE WORKS doesn’t mean no one made the airplane. Explaining how life or the universe works doesn’t mean there was no Maker behind them. Natural laws may explain how the order in the universe works and operates, but mere undirected natural laws cannot explain the origin of that order. Once you have a complete and living cell then the genetic code and biological machinery exist to direct the formation of more cells, but how could life or the cell have naturally originated when no directing code and mechanisms existed in nature? Read my Internet article: HOW FORENSIC SCIENCE REFUTES ATHEISM.

    WHAT IS SCIENCE? Science simply is knowledge based on observation. No one observed the universe coming by chance or by design, by creation or by evolution. These are positions of faith. The issue is which faith the scientific evidence best supports.

    Visit my newest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION

    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    (B.A. Bible/Biology)


    *I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period afterwards) defending creation before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities. I’ve been privileged to be recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who in The East” for my writings on religion and science.

  • Ash

    I’m from Malaysia. I want to know if the Orionid meteor shower visible from Malaysia. I have been waiting for the Perseid meteor shower but I never catch a sight of it . If it is visible, what time is it ?

  • Tiona McKinney

    I guess I have another reason to be happy about Friday!

  • hira

    is this geography

  • hira

    what will happen next

  • Alan F

    Wanderley Silva,

    If you let me know the nearest town to your grandmother’s farm, and the approximate time, I can check for bright satellites on the night of October 15.

    Clear skies, Alan

  • Mohd Tarmizi

    Please let me know that if i can see this beautiful sightings in malaysia too an please tell me the exactly time. Thank you so muchfor this useful info !

  • Joan D

    What is the best time to see the meteor shower from Colombia?

  • Meredith

    I was visiting family in centrel New York about a week ago when I saw some pretty weird clouds. It had just been raing and the clouds looked like brush strokes in the sky. Almost like tiny little cotton balls. I wish I could upload a pic but, ugh, computers. Can anyone match my description?

  • edwin

    wonderful creations of the Almighty God.

  • mary

    can’t wait to see this

  • Becka T

    I just returned home to Indiana, USA yesterday from a mission trip in Paten, Guatemala. On our last night in Guatemala city my friend and I found ourselves outside at 12:30 looking up at the sky. I noticed Orion’s belt directly in front of us and remembered reading about the Orionids. I have never seen them before and my astronomy experience only comes from looking up at the stars and using Google sky map haha. As we looked up at orion which was situated in a horizontally well like this… … and i noticed two stars aligned to the right with the bottom star of Orion’s belt. There were a series of stars popping up next to them anywhere from 1 to 4 stars at a time. Looking up at them I was mesmerized. Assuming they were the Orionids we watched for almost an hour in which the stars continued to appear and reappear. At one point they were going absolutely nuts. It slowed down and we were about to turn in when a shooting star passed by on the left side of Orion’s belt. Like I said I don’t have much experience in this field besides a personal interest, but I have looked all evening for the answer to what the stars next to orion were doing. I realize the shooting star was in fact one of the Orionid’s but what the heck were the other stars? can you maybe help me explain this

  • Sarah Arnold

    Thanks,Andrew I really want to know more about space.could you share more info,or is that it.

  • Sarah Arnold

    God is so amazing!He knows the begging to the end,who you are,your begginging,your end,he even knows way more than anyhuman being,he knew who you were before earth,time and space was even here!Now tthat’s what I call knowing.

  • Lauren

    This is truly a wonderful site.

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