Stunning Orionid Meteor Shower to Peak – Your Watch Forecast
Orionid meteors appear every year around this time, according to NASA. It happens when Earth travels through an area of space littered with debris from Halley’s Comet. This year the peak will occur on the night of Wednesday, Oct. 21 into the morning of Thursday, Oct. 22.
“The Orionids will probably show weaker activity than usual this year,” says Bill Cooke of the NASA Meteoroid Environments Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Cooke adds, “Bits of comet dust hitting the atmosphere will probably give us about a dozen meteors per hour.”
The best time to look for Orionid meteors is just before sunrise this Thursday, Oct. 22, when Earth encounters the densest part of Halley’s debris stream.
Observing is simple: set the alarm a few hours before dawn, go outside and look up in the direction of the constellation Orion. No telescope is necessary to see Orionids shooting across the sky. While the meteor count may be lower this year, viewing conditions are favorable, as the gibbous moon will set by 2 a.m. EDT time, permitting good viewing just before dawn when rates will be at their highest.
The display will be framed by some of the prettiest stars in the night sky. In addition to Orionids, you’ll see the “Dog Star” Sirius, bright winter constellations such as Orion, Gemini, and Taurus, and the planets Jupiter and Venus. Even if the shower is a dud, the rest of the sky is dynamite.