BOSTON (CBS) — This month is turning out to be a great time for nighttime sky watching. Last week we had the alignment of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. This week we have all sorts of great reasons to “look up!” Just this week we have a meteor shower, a near total lunar eclipse, a full Moon and a couple Space Station overhead passes!
Let’s plan the week ahead!
The “quiet before the storm” came Monday with the peak of the Leonid Meteor Shower coming Tuesday night.
The Leonids are a yearly November show resulting from the dust and debris leftover from Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. There have been some amazing shows from the Leonids over the years, but sadly this won’t be one of them. Expect about 10-15 meteors per hour Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Best chance to see a shooting star will be early Wednesday morning, after the Moon sets (4:45 a.m.). As always, we recommend you find a rural location, without any artificial light and as much a clear sky view as possible. You can literally look in any direction. Again, temper expectations this year.
Weather forecast: Mostly clear skies should help viewing but you will have to bundle up with temperatures in the upper 20s and low 30s, light wind.
If you missed the meteor shower the night before, there will be some “stragglers” late Wednesday night. However, given the relative low number of meteors and the bright Moonlight for much of the night, chances of seeing more than one or two meteors are low.
Weather forecast: Lot more clouds around Wednesday night than the night before, in fact some areas could be completely overcast. Given the blanket of clouds, temperatures won’t be as chilly, ranging from the upper 30s into the 40s for lows.
The night of the near total lunar eclipse and Full Beaver Moon! Before I get into the details, lemme just say that your chances of seeing anything are quite low. Clouds and rain are expected overnight Thursday into Friday morning.
Anyhow, just in case. . . here are the eclipse details
The Beaver Moon will officially be full at 3:59 a.m. Friday. This will be our second lunar eclipse of 2021 and the longest lasting eclipse in 580 years! This is largely because this eclipse is occurring during apogee (the farthest point in the Moon’s orbit from Earth) and during a period of time when the Moon will be moving at its slowest speed in orbit. It isn’t quite a total eclipse, as 97.4% of the Moon will be in the Earth’s shadow at peak.
For those who are able to watch in the East, the eclipse will last from 1:02 a.m. until 7:03 a.m. The main part of the show would be from 2:18 a.m. through 5:47 a.m. But, again, don’t get your hopes up, clouds and rain will likely ruin the show for us here in the Northeast.
Over the weekend we will get a couple of great opportunities to see the International Space Station fly overhead.
Saturday between 5:54 p.m. – 5:58 p.m. the Station will be quite high in the sky (89 degrees) moving from southwest to northeast.
Sunday between 5:07 p.m. – 5:13 p.m. the Station will reach a peak of 55 degrees above the horizon and move from southwest to east-northeast.
Weather forecast: So far so good for Saturday evening, looks mainly clear. Sunday there may be more clouds around.
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