Guess who’s rising at midnight, about one hour before the waning Moon returns to the skies? The Winter champion Orion lifts into the east and southeast for night owls, tracking to due south near 4:30 tomorrow morning, and then heads into the southwest just as twilight begins, near 6 o’clock.
The planet Mercury slides behind the Sun today, nothing that we can observe, but it shifts Mercury into the evening skies by next month. Unfortunately, the Earth’s tilted axis keeps it too low for viewing. After another orbit, Mercury makes a much better appearance in the evenings next March.
The Orionid Meteor Shower reaches its peak tonight, best seen in the hours after midnight. The fragments of rock are part of debris released by Halley’s Comet, producing some 10 to 20 meteors per hour. A First Quarter Moon settles toward the horizon, setting before midnight, just as Orion rises to host his meteors.