While school is back in session and summer vacation is over, it technically isn’t fall just yet. With fall officially beginning on Sept. 22 this year, it gives you a little bit of time to still plan some fall outdoor adventures.
And there might not be a better way to organize some fall excursions than around celestial events. Remember the solar eclipse earlier this summer? Yes, that was a much rarer event than most, but it was a perfect excuse to get out in nature and enjoy the outdoors.
With that in mind, here are five upcoming fall celestial events that can make perfect excuses to use some vacation days and get out in the great outdoors.
1. Autumnal Equinox
What: The first day of fall, the autumnal equinox is when “the sun crosses what we call the ‘celestial equator’ (just imagine the line that marks the equator on Earth extending up into the sky) from north to south,” as The Old Farmer’s Almanac describes it. Also, it is one of two times during the year when there are roughly equal amounts of daytime and nighttime. It is a time to celebrate the changing of seasons and the bracing for colder months ahead.
When: Sept. 22
Where: The Northern Hemisphere
2. The Harvest Moon
What: The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, the harvest moon provides ample light for farmer’s to complete their harvest. But you can utilize it as a great time for evening hikes, camping under the light or maybe even full moon surfing.
When: Oct. 5
3. The Orionids meteor shower
What: The meteor shower most closely associated with Haley’s Comet, it offers some of the best meteor shower viewing because Earth is taking a near-direct hit from the comet debris. This meteor shower is also your best chance to see the comet’s dust until it passes by again in 2061.
When: Oct. 2 – Nov. 27, peaking from Oct. 20-22. Best viewing times are after midnight.
Where: Anywhere on Earth. Make sure to leave cities, as light pollution will seriously hinder your ability to view the meteors. A perfect time to plan a trip to camp under the stars.
4. The Leonids meteor shower
What: The Leonids are often responsible for some of the most bountiful meteor-viewing evenings on an annual basis. Sometimes producing 1,000 meteors an hour, it offers a good chance to see lots of shooting stars.
When: Nov. 5 – Dec. 3, peaking Nov. 17-18.
Where: The Northern Hemisphere is a better option to see the Leonids meteor shower, although the Southern Hemisphere can still see them — they’re just not as abundant.
5. The Geminids meteor shower
What: A rare meteor shower that did not originate from a comet, the Geminids are believed to have spawned from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon.
When: Dec. 4-16, peaking around Dec. 14.
Where: Anywhere in the world. The Geminids can be seen anytime after dark, unlike other meteor showers when the best viewing times being after midnight.
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