Orionids Meteor Shower

The excellent Orionids Meteor Shower will peak on Tuesday, October 22. Stargazers, get ready!

The Orionids Meteor Shower is derived from fine particles dropped by repeated past passages of Comet Halley. This meteor shower runs from September 23 to November 27 and is observable world-wide. At the time of peak activity (in the hours between midnight and dawn EDT on October 22), the sky overhead will be plowing through the densest region of the particle field, generating as many as 25 meteors per hour.

This shower has a broad period of activity because the debris field is very spread out because the comet’s orbit does not cross Earth’s at a sharp angle. So, technically, the Orionids will linger until late November – but will decrease in quantity as time passes.

The meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, but true Orionids will be travelling in a direction away from a location in the sky called the radiant. It’s positioned a fist’s diameter to the upper left of the bright red star Betelgeuse in the constellation of Orion, which gives this shower its name.

Although not too numerous, Orionids are known for being bright and fast-moving. Unfortunately, the waning half-illuminated moon will overwhelm the weaker meteors this year. You can watch for meteors before midnight, too – but many of them will be obscured by the Earth’s horizon.

To see the most meteors, get away from light-polluted urban skies and find a dark site with plenty of open sky. Don’t bother with binoculars or a telescope – their fields of view are too narrow for meteors. And don't watch the sky near the radiant - those meteors will be travelling towards you and will produce very short streaks. Just keep your eyes on the sky overhead.

You can start watching as soon as it is dark, or head outside before the dawn twilight begins. If the peak night forecast calls for clouds, try the nights before or after. Use our app to identify the shower’s radiant in the sky above you.

Enjoy the meteor shower season with Star Walk 2!

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Image Credit:Vito Technology

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