The Orionid meteor shower, predicted to peak before dawn on Sunday the 21st, is active through November 7. At peak, in a dark location under a moonless sky, a maximum of 15 to 20 shooting stars per hour are predicted.
At the first sight of the clearing, I was wonderstruck by an aerial display of countless blinking golden lights and dipping, curving, white gold lines streaking all over the meadow from the ground up to the treetops.
Most of us are never prompted to think about the dynamic nature of the world, a world in which the planets move in their orbits in space at varying speeds and that the relationship between the planets changes.
Seeing the rest of the planets visible this spring, especially the spectacle of red Mars increasing in magnitude, requires awakening by 5 a.m. close to a location with a clear view of the southeast to southwest horizon.
In the hour before sunrise during the last week of September and the first week of October, an additional incentive to prompt our waking up to go outdoors in the early morning is the promise of witnessing the ethereal zodiacal light.
There’s much more to lure us outdoors at 4 a.m.: Between catching shooting stars, skim the southern skyline to see one of the most compelling constellations, Scorpius the Scorpion, accented by brilliant, red-orange Mars and golden Saturn.