Star gazing at its peak this week

Image courtesy of NASA.

Image courtesy of NASA.

Throughout history, the human race has had a fascination with space.  People looked up at the moon, and they went there.  They studied the stars and planets. We can get used to some of the incredible views we see in the sky, but sometimes astronomical events happen to once again draw our attention. Two such events are going to occur this month.

The first was a full supermoon rising on November 14.  In order for a supermoon to occur, the sun and moon must be on opposite sides of the Earth, and the moon must be at its perigee (the point in its orbit when it is closest to Earth).  Supermoons appear larger and brighter than other moons because of their special proximity to the Earth.  According to NASA, it was the closest supermoon until November, 2034.

The next event to keep your eyes peeled for is the Leonids meteor shower.  These meteors (commonly called shooting stars) come from the dust grains left behind by a comet called Tempel-Tuttle.  Although the shower lasts from November 6-30, it peaks tonight, Nov. 17.  To have the best odds of seeing some meteors, it’s recommended to look after midnight and away from light pollution.  It might be a bit hard, though, as the moon will be a waning gibbous and may obscure some meteors.  However, patient observers should be able to spot some good meteors.

School can be stressful, but it’s important to take time to breathe.  Look up at the sky every once in a while, and you might get to make a wish.  Between a meteor shower and a supermoon, there’s plenty going on this month.  Best of luck to any sky-watchers!