The Orionids are a meteor shower that occurs in late October and lasts for one week. They got their name because they seem to originate from the constellation Orion. However they can be seen from large portions of the sky. The meteor shower comes from degrees of Halley’s comet. In October, the constellation Orion reaches its azimuth at 2 am. This means that the best time to see the constellation is at 2 in the morning. This happens because Orion is a winter constellation, so it doesn’t rise early. However we will be able to still see many meteoroids since the Orionids are known for being fast and bright.
The meteor shower reaches its peak on the night of October 21st and into the morning of October 22nd. During these times is when it is very likely that you will be able to spot a meteor. The Orionids average 15 meteors per hour on moonless nights. Unfortunately the moon will be a waxing gibbous when the meteor shower reaches its peak. This means that as the meteor shower approaches its peak, the moon is also about to be full.
However, we will still be able to spot several meteors during the course of this shower, even here in Baltimore. The shower has already begun, so here are some viewing tips.
- Try to get away form as much light pollution as you can
- The meteors are at their best after midnight so bring a friend or two and a blanket
- Lie down with your feet facing southeast. To help orient yourself, lie down with your feet facing towards the harbor, and turn your feet slightly to the right to face southeast.
- Look up and take in as much of the sky as possible. Your eyes will take a little under 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Looking at your phone means that you will have to start all over again, because you need to have your pupils dilate.
- It’s better to face 45 to 90 degrees away from where the meteors originate from. At the time of night that most people will be viewing the shower, Orion will be rising in the east.