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Moon and Aldebaran

October 21, 2013

A bright Moon is a pretty sight. The problem is, it can block a lot of other pretty objects from view. Tonight, for example, its light overpowers the fading Orionid meteor shower.

The shower was expected to be at its best last night as seen from here in the United States. It’s pretty spread out, though, so some of its meteors will zip across the sky tonight, too — perhaps nearly as many as last night. Under a dark sky, they still can be quite impressive.

The problem is, even if you get away from city streetlamps and other artificial light sources, you can’t get away from that big natural light source. The Moon was full just three days ago, so it’s still big and bright in our sky. And it can appear especially bright from the country, where it can be almost painful to look at.

The moonlight also overpowers the Milky Way, as well as many of the faint individual stars that speckle the night sky. But it does little to dim the luster of a star that’s close to the Moon tonight. Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the bull, is a little below the Moon as they rise in mid-evening, and even closer to it at first light tomorrow. The star’s orange color may be a bit washed out, but other than that, it’ll still be a fine display.

So take a peek at Aldebaran and the Moon as they glide across the sky tonight. And if you can get away from city lights, take a chance on the Orionid meteor shower as well — a few sparks that shine through the moonlight.


Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2013

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