Don’t Forget to Look Up This Weekend! – Oct 21-23, 2011

(from our friends at OMSI)

Busy weekend ahead up in the sky with the peak of the Orionid Meteor Shower tonight and the ROSAT re–entry sometime on October 23.

Another Falling Satellite
The massive ROSAT X-ray space telescope is making its final spiralling orbits around Earth. Most experts agree that re-entry will occur during the early hours of Oct. 23rd over a still-unknown region of our planet. Meanwhile, the satellite can still be seen slicing brightly through the night sky

According to the DLR (the German space agency), which operated the observatory while it was active in the 1990s, as many as 30 pieces of debris could reach Earth’s surface. Of particular concern is the telescope’s heat-resistant mirror assembly — 1.6 metric tons in all — which could hit the ground intact at hundreds of miles per hour. Odds favor an ocean splashdown or a land impact in sparsely inhabited wilderness. Check Space Weather for viewing times in your area.

Orionid Meteor Shower
Today Earth is entering a stream of debris from Halley’s comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Saturday morning, Oct. 22nd, with more than 15 meteors per hour. Check SpaceWeather for links to a live meteor radar, sky maps and observing tips.


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