FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WDAF/WANE) – The first full moon of fall is set to peak this week, and it will also closely coincide with the second meteor shower of the month.
October’s full moon is called the “Hunter’s Moon.” It’s going to reach peak illumination at 10:57 a.m. Central Time Wednesday, Oct. 20, according to NASA. But even though its peak is during daylight, the moon will still appear full from Monday night through Thursday morning.
Why is it called the “Hunter’s Moon?” According to the Farmers Almanac, October’s full moon gets its nickname from the hunting season. Other names for October’s full moon include the “Blood Moon” and the “Sanguine Moon.”
Some say this full moon appears more orange in color. It also appears bigger than other full moons because of an optical illusion.
Another spectacle this month for astronomy lovers is the Orionid meteor shower, the second meteor shower of the month after the rare Draconids peaked a few weeks ago.
While the annual Orionid meteor shower reaches its peak Wednesday night into Thursday morning (Oct. 20 – Oct. 21), viewing conditions are not ideal this year. So, don’t get too excited about a spectacular sky show across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.
According to expert skywatcher Tony Rice, 10-15 meteors are expected to be visible from rural areas. The number will be, at least, half that in areas with more light pollution.
The meteors appear to come from just north of the constellation Orion’s brightest star Betelgeuse (generally pronounced like the Beetlejuice movie, but also pronounced Bhe-tle-juz). They travel at about 41 miles (66 kilometers) per second and are made up of dust and debris left by Halley’s Comet on one of its many trips through our part of the solar system.
The light of the full moon will make seeing meteors challenging, however. Plus, the mostly cloudy sky and scattered rain across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio won’t help, either.
But, if you want to give it a shot, anyway, head out after dark, Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Astronomers recommend focusing on darker areas of the sky and avoiding looking directly at sources of light, such as the moon or a cell phone. With viewing conditions not ideal, you may just need a lot of patience and a lot of luck.
Nexstar’s WFLA contributed to this report.