By Kelly Kizer Whitt
Orionid Meteor Shower
October boasts the Orionids, one of the better meteor showers of the year. You can see the meteors between Oct. 20 and 27, with your best bet being the night of Oct. 21. Orionid meteors zip quickly across the sky but leave persistent trains, so if you catch a glimpse of one, keep your eye trained on the spot and you might see a fading yet still luminous glow marking its path. At the shower's peak, up to 25 meteors an hour can be seen–all debris left over from Halley's Comet, which spewed off gas and dust that we barrel through every October.
The Harvest Moon
This year, the harvest moon—the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox—falls in October instead of September. The full moon rises on Oct. 5 in Pisces. Some easy-to-spot collections of stars rise ahead of it. Look for the Great Square of Pegasus above the moon and the Circlet of Pisces to the upper right.
Special Sights for Early Risers
When one object in space passes in front of another, an occultation occurs. On Oct. 15, the quarter moon will occult the bright star Regulus in Leo for most of the U.S. The time and exact part of the moon that Regulus will pass under depends on your location. In Phoenix, for example, the moon will not have risen yet as the occultation begins, but observers can see the reemergence of Regulus a couple hours before sunrise. Those in the Midwest will be able to see the whole event.
Before sunrise on Oct. 5, early birds can watch Venus rise in the east a quarter of a degree from Mars. (Pro tip: If you hold your hand at arm's length, your pinky covers one degree of sky. Venus and Mars will be a quarter of that distance apart). This close conjunction will be washed out as the sun rises toward the horizon's edge about an hour later.
The moon pairs with Mars and then Venus on the mornings of Oct. 17 and 18. In the evening, the fall constellations can be seen, but if you are up before sunrise, you'll be treated to another look at spring constellations like Leo and Virgo.
Saturn and Uranus
Saturn is visible after sunset in the Southwest, floating in front of the Milky Way. Look to the left of it to see a collection of stars that form the distinct shape of a teapot. This asterism is part of the constellation Sagittarius. Between Saturn and the teapot is the galactic center, where a massive black hole lies hidden. On Oct. 23 and 24, the moon makes a pretty pairing with Saturn. This area of the sky sinks in the fall and doesn't rise again until the return of summer.
Uranus reaches opposition on Oct. 19. It lays opposite the sun, inside the V-shape of the constellation Pisces. Even though Uranus will shine at magnitude 5.7, which is visible to the unaided eye, it will be very difficult to pick out from the background stars.
Reposted with permission from our media associate SIERRA Magazine.
By Kelly Kizer Whitt, SIERRA Magazine
The full moon in November will be super-sized, the largest of 2016. "Supermoon" is a recently coined term for when the moon is full and at perigee—its closest point to the earth in its elliptical orbit. Perigee will take place on Nov. 14 when the moon passes about 356,000 km from our planet. The full moon peaks less than three hours later, wowing viewers and causing larger than normal tides along the coast.
Three minor meteor showers, the South Taurids, North Taurids and Leonids, occur in November. If you're a night owl, you may spot some fireballs around midnight between Nov. 4 and 5 from the South Taurids, and some slow-moving bright meteors around midnight on Nov. 11 and 12 from the North Taurids. The Leonid meteor shower is better for early birds who are up an hour or more before sunrise on Nov. 17.
A Canopy of Stars
We'll all feel like night owls once the clock changes back to Standard Time on Nov. 6. For many in the U.S., the sun will set before 5 p.m. Let's face it: the long hours of darkness can be gloomy. But instead of hiding under the covers, bundle up and step outside to look at the brilliant sky of late fall. The crisp air will revive you, as will the clear view of stars more than a thousand light-years away. Look to the northeast to see the Capella star flashing and flaming. This vibrant beacon is a mere 42 light-years away.
Planets on the Move
In the beginning of November, Venus mingles brightly with Saturn in the southwestern sky. A crescent moon will pass the two planets from Nov. 1 to 3 and then scoot to the south, passing in the vicinity of Mars on Nov. 5. By mid-month, Saturn will drop lower in the horizon, crossing paths with Mercury around Nov. 25. Mercury will be rising away from the sun as Saturn sinks. On the last day of November, the crescent moon pops back into view in the west not far from Mercury.
Reposted with permission from our media associate SIERRA Magazine.
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The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.