Orionid Meteor Shower peaks this weekend
Orionid Meteor Shower peaks Oct. 20-22, 2023
In a celestial spectacle that promises to captivate stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts alike, the highly anticipated Orionid meteor shower is set to reach its peak during the early Sunday morning hours. This annual meteor shower occurs as the Earth passes through the debris left behind by Halley’s Comet.
Taking place between October 2 and November 7 each year, the Orionid meteor shower is renowned for its swift and bright meteors, which streak across the night sky at an average speed of 41 miles per second. This weekend, avid skywatchers are in for a treat as the shower reaches its zenith, promising an intensified meteor activity.
The best time to observe this celestial spectacle will be in the early hours of Sunday, when the radiant point of the meteor shower, located near the prominent constellation Orion, will be highest in the sky. Experts suggest finding a location away from city lights. This allows for optimal visibility of the shooting stars.
The Orionid meteor shower is expected to produce approximately 20 meteors per hour during its peak. Occasional fireballs—bright meteors that leave a vivid trail—may also grace the night sky, adding to the enchantment of the event.
As the weekend moves forwards, we are expecting less and less cloud cover to be an issue in the evenings. Unfortunately, the evening of peak meteors is looking partly cloudy. When skies are mostly clear Sunday night, there will still be some meteors flying around. So, if you miss the peak or its too cloudy Saturday night, try again Sunday night. Whenever you do go outside to try and view them, be ready for cool conditions. It will be breezy and cold on the night of the peak.
The other thing to keep in mind is the moon is becoming fuller by the day. Meaning, as the days go forwards this weekend, the light pollution from the moon will be more and more noticeable. At least it looks like the moon will be setting below the horizon after midnight the night of the peak.