Autumn is here. This 2021, the equinox that ends summer and marks the beginning of one of the favorite seasons of many, happened this September 22 at 2:21 p.m. (CDT).

At that moment, the Sun crossed the celestial equator on its way north, causing the day and night to have almost identical duration. In the northern hemisphere, the temperature begins a gradual decrease, while the days get shorter and shorter until they reach their minimum on December 21, when the solstice marks the end of autumn and the beginning of boreal winter.

With clearer skies and the most famous constellations of this era, here are the must-see astronomical phenomena of fall 2021:

Orionid Meteor Shower (October 21-22)

Every fall, the remnants of cosmic dust, ice and rocks left behind by Halley's Comet in Earth's orbit rush into the atmosphere at 66 kilometers per second, causing flashes that are known as the Orionid Meteor Shower. 

In 2021, this astronomical phenomenon will reach its maximum activity point on the nights of October 21 and 22, when it will be possible to observe up to 23 meteors per hour in the clearest skies.  

The radiant of this meteor shower is Orion, the most famous constellation in the northern hemisphere; However, it is better to be attentive and have a panorama as wide as possible, since the meteors will appear from any point of the celestial vault. 

Taurid Meteor Shower (November 4-5)

Although they are not one of the most popular meteor showers, the Taurids of 2021 will reach their maximum activity at the best time to observe the night sky: right in the new moon of November, when our natural satellite cannot be seen from Earth.

Hence, the nights of November 4 and 5 are ideal for looking up and hunting Taurids. Despite the fact that this astronomical phenomenon has a maximum activity of 5 meteors per hour, it is about huge fireballs capable of illuminating a region of the celestial vault for a few seconds.

Partial lunar eclipse (November 19)

On the night of November 19, one of the most spectacular astronomical phenomena of the year will arrive: a partial eclipse will cause the Earth's shadow to cover more than 97% of the Moon's surface. 

The event will be visible throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico, as well as Guatemala and Belize, while in South America it will be seen during the moonset.

Geminid Meteor Shower (December 14)

One of the most intense meteor showers of the year will reach its peak of activity in the early morning of December 14: The Geminids, coming from the remains of the asteroid (3200) Phaethon, will cause a unique show of blue and green meteors that cross the vault celestial at 35 kilometers per second.

 Although the focus will be on the constellation Gemini, having a wide view of the night sky is essential to hunt as many Geminids as possible and enjoy this astronomical phenomenon. (National Geographic) (Photos: Getty Images) 


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