Orionid Meteor Shower

The Orionid meteor shower lights up the night sky, with 10 to 20 meteors per hour during its peak. (photo: Goldpaint Photography)

The Orionid meteor shower lights up the night sky, with 10 to 20 meteors per hour during its peak. (photo: Goldpaint Photography)

October 20, 2017| Categories: Eye on the Sky, Fairbanks Museum, Planetarium News, StarGazing

The Orionid meteor shower peaks between October 20th and 22nd! This meteor shower is caused by the Earth passing through the path of Halley’s Comet, which returns to Earth’s vicinity every 75 years. The famous comet leaves a trail of icy debris, which makes up the meteor shower that can be viewed from Earth. It is called the Orionid meteor shower because it is visible in the same part of the sky as the constellation Orion.

For the best viewing, look out into the southeast sky after midnight and before dawn. The thin crescent moon will leave a dark sky for viewing. Bundle up, and let your eyes adjust to the darkness. Find the constellation Orion, best identified at first by his 3-star belt. Orionid meteors will originate near Orion’s club, but can be seen anywhere in the sky, at a maximum of 10 to 20 meteors per hour. Meteors are sometimes deemed “shooting stars,” and appear as quick blazes of light that streak across the sky before fading.

 

 

Look to Orion’s upper arm for the radiant, or origin, of the meteors. (photo: starrynight.com)

 

Tags: astronomy, Eye on the Night Sky, Fairbanks Museum