Meteors to light Bundy skies
WE'RE in for a different kind of shower this weekend.
After being hammered by rain early this week, the sky will be opening up with a display like no other and Bundaberg has a front-row seat.
One of Australia's most renowned astronomers, David Reneke, sat down with the NewsMail to explain one of the most significant astronomical shows of the year that has ties to Halley's comet.
The meteor shower, the Orionids was first recorded by the Chinese in 288AD and are visible from October 15-29, with the peak of the shower tomorrow, October 21.
"Meteor showers are notoriously hard to predict, but the key is patience,” he said.
"This is a good shower for beginners with estimates of around 30 meteors per hour.
"There could also be a fire ball seen - they're a slow moving meteor.
"They are bigger and burn up in the atmosphere, they look like a bright meteor and have long tails - really spectacular to see.”
The shower is centred on Orion's club near the red supergiant star Betelgeuse and the meteors are typically fast, sometimes bright and generally more than half leave persistent trains.
Mr Reneke said clear and dark skies are a prerequisite for good star-gazing and with the moon currently in the New Moon phase, we're in luck.
He said the best time to view the meteor show is between 2-3am, but there will be a few good nights like tonight and tomorrow night for seeing the natural phenomenon.
"Look towards the Saucepan to see them,” he said.
"Wait at least 10 minutes for your eyes to become accustom to the sky, especially if you've just come from a high-light room.
"They are so far up that people all over Australia should be able to see them.
"We get about half-a-dozen showers every year.”
And the skies are set to look like a Christmas tree as the year comes to an end.
Mr Reneke said there will be another shower at the start of next month, the Taurids meteor shower.
"This takes place in the first week of November,” he said.