3 can’t-miss stargazing events happening this month

According to NASA, the occurrence of a blue moon happens only about once every two and half years.

October has several eye-catching moments happening as Halloween approaches

This fall, several celestial events will allow you to transform your backyard into an observatory.

While the Harvest Moon has already come and gone, there are a few more astronomical events taking place in October. So, mark your calendars and take note of three events set to occur.

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Tuesday, Oct. 13 - Mars shines bright like a diamond

Space.com reports skywatchers will be in for an early Halloween treat as Mars will, in astronomy terms, reach opposition. That means that it’ll be a good time to observe the red planet as it will be closest to the earth and appear in full phase. Once Mars, Earth and the sun create a straight line, Mars will look as if it is larger, redder and brighter than usual.

Spotting Mars Tuesday night will be easy. According to NASA, “Simply go outside and look up and, depending on your local weather and lighting conditions, you should be able to see Mars.”

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Wednesday, Oct. 21 - Orionid meteor shower hits its peak

The American Meteor Society (AMS) reported that every October, Orionid meteor shower is produced when the Earth passes through the inbound debris of Halley’s comet. It’s predicted that the greatest activity will occur on the morning of Oct. 21. AMS states that the best time to see the meteors is from 1:00 a.m. to dawn.

The moon should not be an issue, but if cloud cover or bright city lights obstruct your view, you can glimpse the shower a second time overnight — in a safe rural setting if city lights are a problem — as Wednesday turns into Thursday from Oct. 21-22. Orionid activity will be nearly as strong as it was early Wednesday.

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Saturday, Oct. 31 - a blue moon covers the Halloween sky

There’s a full moon in store for Halloween this year and CNET reports it’s rare because, for the first time since World War II, practically the entire world will be able to see it. The Oct. 31 blue moon is called that because it’s the second full moon in the same month. It follows the Harvest Moon that rose in the sky on Oct. 1-3.

No special equipment is needed to see the blue moon in all its glory. Astronomy educator and former planetarium director Jeffrey Hunt told CNET all you have to do is “[w]alk outside, and take a look."

Still, while people in North and South America, Africa, Europe and most of Asia will get a look art the blue moon, residents in central and eastern Australia won’t see it.

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