Look up! Orionids Meteor Shower to begin this weekend, lasting into November
One of the most beautiful meteor showers of the year will grace our skies this weekend - the Orionids!
The Orionids are known for very speedy meteors that travel 41 miles per second. This is almost as fast as the Leonids. They are called the Orionids, because they appear to radiate from a part of the sky near the constellation Orion. They are created when Earth travels through debris left by Halley’s Comet.
Halley’s Comet is perhaps the most famous comet discovered by Edmond Halley, an English astronomer in 1758. It has some history and has been sighted for millennia. The last time the comet swung by the Earth was back in 1986. The next time it passes by will be in 2061.
If conditions are right, the peak average is around 15 meteors per hour. Perfect viewing conditions would be needed, of course, with no light pollution and weather that cooperates. The weather part looks a bit tricky during the peak, but the good news is that this shower runs into November.
If you are planning on viewing, first check the weather forecast with the News 12 Storm Watch Team, then pick your location. Try to find the darkest patch of sky you can find away from city lights. You don’t have to look towards Orion to see them, meteors can appear almost anywhere. NASA recommends trying to look about 45 to 90 degrees away from the actual radiant point. The streaks they leave behind will appear longer. Debris from Halley’s Comet will also produce the Eta Aquarids later in May.
The best viewing time will be after midnight when Orion is highest in the sky. If you are going out to view, dress warmly and bring some blankets or chairs.
The peak of the shower will be Oct. 21-22, but meteors will still be visible into November.