Lunar Eclipse, Comet Sighting, and Meteor Shower All This Weekend!

Sky map

This weekend you can see a penumbral lunar eclipse, the comet ISON, and the Orionid meteor shower all from the comfort of your own home. The Slooh virtual observatory will be bringing pictures and videos with live commentary for each event. Don’t miss out!

The Slooh virtual observatory will be streaming coverage on each event from their website The first show begins Friday evening at 7:30 ET with commentary from astronomer Bob Berman and Slooh’s Paul Cox. The commentary will surly craft the experience into something understandable and satisfying.

“Although a penumbral lunar eclipse might go unnoticed by someone casually glancing at the moon, we will be able to observe the gradual shading of the moon in the live images Slooh will broadcast throughout the eclipse,” Cox said in a news release. The brightest moment of the eclipse should occur at 7:50 p.m. ET.

Friday night will be the setting for a full moon, specifically, the Hunter’s Moon. The full moon that follows the Harvest Moon (that occurred on September 19), is known as the Hunter’s Moon and is precisely what will be present this evening.

In addition to the Hunter’s Moon there is a penumbral eclipse. This eclipse is different from an ordinary eclipse because it isn’t a full eclipse. A normal eclipse means that the Sun Earth and Moon form a perfectly straight line, during a penumbral eclipse the moon travels through the outer portion of the Earth’s shadow (penumbra). This means that all of the moon’s visible surface will receive some direct sunlight but will still be partly obscured by the Sun.

A few hours after the event, around 1:30 a.m. ET Saturday October 19th, we will be visited by the comet ISON which hails from the hinterlands solar system. Hopeful skywatchers are thinking this comet could be the “comet of the century.”

If you prefer something more extravagant, Sunday evening is the best opportunity to see the Orinoid meteor shower. Every October Earth passes through leftovers of Halley’s Comet allowing for this meteor shower to be viewed. Due to the glare of the last full moon this won’t be the best viewing we’ve had of the Orionid meteor shower but it should still be a great event. If you would like to see this meteor shower for yourself your best opportunity rests between Sunday at midnight and dawn, Monday morning.

Slooh President Partrick Paolucci says he has mixed feelings about ‘hyping’ meteor showers that are more minor such as the Orionid meteor shower. He did however have this to say, “Nonetheless, of the dozens of minor showers, the Orionids rank among the best. Moreover, having the distinguished pedigree of being progeny of the most famous comet in history entitles them to be showcased. Slooh hopes to capture enough to make this 15-minute real-time program worthwhile.”

Slooh will begin video coverage of the event Sunday around 5 p.m. ET and will receive live commentary at 8. If you have any questions Slooh encourages you to post them on Twitter using the hashtag #Orionid. Whether staying indoors or venturing outside, these events will surly brighten up your weekend.


Written By: Garrett Jutte


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