The Orionid Meteor Shower, said to be one of the best meteor showers of the year, will peak this weekend between October 20 and 22. Its meteors are some of the fastest and brightest, because the Earth is hitting a stream of particles from Halley’s Comet almost head on. The famous comet only swings by Earth every 75 to 76 years.
The Orionids are so named because they radiate from the constellation Orion, and in October Orion is best visible around 2 a.m. Space.com reports that the best viewing will be around 2 a.m. on October 21 and October 22. And this year should be an especially good show because skywatchers will not have a full moon to deal with.
Some years this meteor show peaks at 80 meteors an hour but this year it is predicted to be a smaller shower, at 20 to 30 meteors an hour.
According to Space.com, Orionid meteors are visible from anywhere on Earth, radiating from Orion, near Orion’s sword. But no need to stare directly at this spot. Try to get away from city lights and head outside around 1:30 a.m. to give your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust to the dark. Bundle up and lay back, using only your eyes to observe the night sky; no need for binoculars or telescopes.
If you miss the peak show this weekend, the Orionids are also visible through October 29, as long as a full moon isn’t interfering.
So whether this weekend or later in the month, try to get away from city lights and catch one of the best meteor showers of the year! Perfect chance to take the boat out for a fall cruise, anchor in a quiet gunkhole, and stare up at the night sky. If you take a good photo, send to email@example.com!