Orionid Meteor Shower Maximum - October 20th to 22nd

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Orionid Meteor Shower Maximum - October 20th to 22nd

Post  Steve Williams on Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:36 am

As Alec has already mentioned in his earlier post, the Orionid meteor shower (remnants from Comet Halley), reaches maximum activity on the night of October 21st and 22nd.

The Orionids are active between the dates of October 16th and 30th, and when at maximum can reach a zenithal hourly rate of 25 meteors. In reality however the radiant is much lower than the zenith and so from the UK an average observer can expect to see around 12 - 15 meteors per hour, still however not a bad return.

The Orionid radiant rises during very late evening, so little activity is likely to be seen until after mid-night and onwards which is when the best observing conditions will be (clear sky permitting of course!). At maximum activity this year, the near first quarter Moon is setting around the same time the radiant rises, so dark skies in store for those prepared to stay up late. Generally, Orionid meteors tend to be very fast moving with many having persistent trains.

Unlike a lot of the annual meteor 'showers', the Orionids have quite a nice broad maximum, so even if it's cloudy on the actual night of maximum activity, very good rates will still likely be seen for a couple of nights either side.

If you're out watching for Orionids, then you may also be lucky enough to catch some Taurids. The Taurids are a much less active shower than the Orionids and commence activity on October 20th.

Combined with the background sporadic meteors, the prospects for the coming nights looks excellent for meteor watches.


Steve Williams

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