(WKBN) – The night sky will become active as the Orionid meteor gets closer to peaking this week.
The shower takes place every year during the fall season, and the peak of the shower takes place the third week of October. The weather forecast may not help viewing chances this year as clouds and rain stay in the forecast.
When does the Orionid meteor shower peak?
The Orionid meteor shower becomes active around September 26 and will stay active until November 22 each year.
The peak of the shower is on the night between October 20 and October 21 this year.
There is good news this year as the moon will only be at 37% full, which will help out with less light contamination in the night sky for better viewing during the peak.
How many meteors can I expect?
The shower is expected to produce around 10 to 20 meteors each hour in a dark sky for viewing at the peak.
The meteors are moving at a velocity of 41 miles per second. To relate this speed to a rocket, they are traveling around 148,000 miles per hour into the Earth’s atmosphere!
When is the best time to catch the meteor shower?
You can catch the Orionids in the sky after midnight. It is best to get away from the city lights if you can as less light contamination will be helpful to try and catch a glimpse of these fast-moving meteors.
What direction should I look to see the meteor shower?
You want to look toward the southeast to try and catch the show. It is best to lie on your back and look toward the southeast.
The show will last through the night into the early morning toward dawn.
The area of the sky where the meteors will develop will be near the constellation Orion. This, of course, is where the name of the shower comes from. The constellation does not create the shower, it is just the location they appear to come from in the night sky.
What are the meteors made of?
The meteors are made of space debris that runs into our atmosphere each fall. The space debris comes from the comet 1P/Halley. The comet leaves behind ice and dust after it passes through our solar system. This debris passes through our atmosphere twice a year — once in the fall with the Orionid shower and in May with the Eta Aquarids.
The comet Halley has a very long orbit around the sun and takes 76 years to complete. The last time we were able to see it was in 1986. It will not move back.