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Last Week's Stargazing Tips

October 19: Orionid Meteors

Earth is running into a celestial sandstorm — a cloud of dust from Halley’s Comet. That produces the Orionid meteor shower. Unfortunately, though, the Moon is in the way, so only the brightest of the “shooting stars” will shine through.

October 18: Deneb Algedi

Capricornus, the sea goat, is in the south at nightfall. Its brightest stars form a wide triangle, with the star Deneb Algedi at the left point. Its name means “tail of the kid,” which references its position at the tail of the sea goat.

October 17: Moon and Aldebaran

Aldebaran, the eye of the bull, stands quite near the Moon tonight. The bright orange star will be close to the right of the Moon as they climb into good view, around 10 p.m., and a little farther below the Moon at dawn tomorrow.

October 16: Capella

Capella, one of the brightest stars in the night, is in view in the northeast by mid-evening, far to the left of the Moon. It consists of two widely separated pairs of stars. One pair is bright, but the other is too faint to see without a telescope.

October 15: Sending a Message

A group of scientists and musicians recently sent messages to GJ 273, a star system that’s about 12 light-years away. It’s near Procyon, the brightest star of Canis Minor, the little dog, which is high in the south-southeast at first light.

October 14: Hamal

The brightest star in Aries, the ram, sweeps across the eastern evening sky this month. Hamal is an orange-giant star about 75 light-years away. It is low in the east early this evening, to the upper left of the Moon.

October 13: Hunter’s Moon

Tonight is the night of the Hunter’s Moon. It’s the full Moon after the Harvest Moon, which appeared in September. Despite what many think, though, the Harvest and Hunter’s Moons aren’t any bigger and brighter than any other full Moons.