October is still hopping for New Jersey sky-watchers
The so-called, "great American eclipse" caused a lot of excitement this summer. But the October skies are also chock-full of celestial phenomena.
Paul Cirillo, board member of the New Jersey Astronomical Association, said astronomy buffs will be treated to the Orionid Meteor Showers, The Great Andromeda Galaxy, and the Pleiades Star Cluster this month.
"Every month, there is always something good to look at," he said.
"In October, the actual highlight would be the Orionid, which actually runs from around Oct. 15 to the 29th," he said. "It will peak on the 21st."
It's the leftover debris from Haley's comet.
"So as it passes through our solar system some time ago, it still leaves a debris of tiny, dust-like grains. And those grains stay in orbit around the sun, and every year about this time, the Earth passes through it," Cirillo said. When we pass through those tiny dust grains, that is what causes what we see are meteors in the sky."
The Great Andromeda Galaxy is visible just near the Perseid Constellation. It is actually a galaxy that we can see with our eyes, without binoculars. It is the farthest-known object that humans can see.
Also apparent in the skies, with the right conditions, will be the Pleiades Star Cluster, also known as The Seven Sisters.
Cirillo said you don't even need a telescope — just a good lawn chair, maybe binoculars and the will to stay up till 2 a.m.
"This is actually very relaxing, because we have good weather now. It is cool out, especially at night," he said.
He says you can also find out what's up there at skymaps.com.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5.
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