Orionids Meteor Shower

Orionids Meteor Shower

19/10/2015Written by Jamie Laughton

The Orionids meteor shower is an annual shower that runs through October to early November and peaks in mid October.

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This year peak activity falls on the 20– 21 October – but meteors may be visible from October 02 through to November 07. At it’s peak, there should be around 20 meteors per hour.

The Orionids acquire their name from the point in the sky they seem to originate. Tracking back meteors seen in this storm give an origin point in the constellation of Orion. While the meteors originate from this point they can often been seen stretching across large sections of the sky, so be sure to keep careful watch. The meteors are caused by tiny pieces of dust burning up as they collide with the Earth’s atmosphere. This takes place around 80 kilometres off the ground. Orionids move very fast, at a speed of 147,300 miles per hour. At such an enormous speed, the meteors don’t last long, burning up quickly – but brightly.

When to view meteors

The Orionids meteor shower is one of two showers formed by debris from Halley’s Comet, the other being the Eta Aquirids which can be seen in May. The comet itself will next be visible from Earth in 2061. (Halley’s comet takes 76 years to make a complete revolution around the Sun.)

The best time to view the Orionids will be in the early hours of the morning on the 20 and 21 October. This year the peak of the Orionids will be accompanied by a quarter Moon.

Make sure to download the National Space Centre Meteor Shower Guide to make sure you are fully prepared to witness the Orionids this October!