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Updated: Sun, 20 Oct 2013 09:31:59 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Lunar eclipse, meteor shower treat Canadians this weekend



An astronomer observes the Orionids at an observatory near the village of Avren east of the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009. The Orionid meteor shower occurs each year as a result of Earth passing through cosmic dust released by Halley's Comet. The radiant of the Orionids is located near the constellation Orion. (© AP Photo/Petar Petrov)

An astronomer observes the Orionids at an observatory near the village of Avren east of the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009. The Orionid meteor shower occurs each year as a result of Earth passing through cosmic dust released by Halley's Comet. The radiant of the Orionids is located near the constellation Orion. (AP Photo/Petar Petrov) Petar Petrov/Associated Press

Two cosmic events, a penumbral lunar eclipse Friday and a meteor shower on Sunday, are making for an interesting weekend in Canadian skies.

Sunday night to dawn on Monday will be the peak of the Orionid meteor shower. 

"In the darker hours, look towards [the constellation] Orion the hunter, generally in the southeast sky" and it will appear that meteors are coming from Orion's club, said Colin Haig, vice-president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

The meteor shower will peak at 10 to 20 meteors per hour just before dawn on Monday, according to Earthsky.org. Unfortunately, the brightness of the full moon will make the meteors difficult to see for most Canadians. 

Penumbral lunar eclipse

Though the moon will detract somewhat from that cosmic show, it provided one of its own earlier this weekend.

Just before 8 p.m. ET Friday, the bottom half of the full moon was darkened by the Earth's shadow during the penumbral lunar eclipse.

The Earth's shadow has two distinct regions: A very dark, central region called the umbra, and a diffuse outer region called the penumbra.

The penumbra caused the moon to get dimmer Friday night until about two-thirds of the moon was cloaked in shadow at 8:50 p.m. People in Eastern Canada could see the entire event, weather permitting, but it was well underway at moonrise for those in Central and Western Canada. The penumbral eclipse was subtle but still noticeable to anyone who stopped to take a look.

- Shadows in the sky: All about eclipses

Even subtle eclipses can "help people understand that our solar system is in motion," Haig said. "It’s a fairly rare event, a couple times a year at best and it happens in a matter of a few hours."

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