Every year, the Orionid meteor shower becomes active in late September and remains active until late November.
This year, the peak of the shower is on the night between October 20 and October 21.
There is good news, as the moon will only be at 21% full, which means there will be less light contamination in the night sky and a better view.
How many meteors can I expect?
The Orionid shower typically produces around 15 meteors hourly at the peak during the third week of October.
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.
Where should I look to see the meteor shower?
You want to look toward the southeast to try and catch the show.
The area of the sky where the meteors will develop is near the constellation Orion, hence the name of the shower.
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 Halley’s Comet, which 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 toward the inner solar system again until 2061.