Oct 20 (): The peak of the annual Orionids meteor shower occurs on Monday, October 21. Orionids meteor shower is one of a handful of known meteor showers that can be observed equally well from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
The Orionids were discovered in 1839, but are perhaps around 2,200 years old. The meteors are known as “Orionids” because they appear to come out from a region to the north of Orion’s second brightest star, the ruddy hued Betelgeuse. They hit the atmosphere at more than 132,000 mph.
The meteors seen in the Orions are remains from Halley’s Comet, which was named after the American astronomer Edmund Halley.
The October meteor shower is scheduled to reach its maximum before sunrise on Monday morning around 5 a.m. — when Orion is highest in the sky toward the south. The Orionids normally produce around 20 to 25 meteors per hour under a clear, dark sky.
When Orionid meteor showers peak on Monday, the meteor shower will share the sky with the brilliant light of a 94 percent illuminated gibbous moon. Though the Orionids will be at their peak, most of the meteors will likely be wiped out by the bright moonlight.
Usually Orionid meteors are not well viewed from urban locations, so it is suggested that you find a safe, rural location to see the best Orionid activity.
Orionid activity started around Oct. 17 when they start appearing at roughly five per hour. The shower may be quite active for several days before or after its broad maximum, which may last from Oct. 19 through Oct. 23. After peaking on the morning of Oct. 21, activity will begin to slowly fall down, dropping back to around five per hour around Oct. 25.
The online Slooh Space Camera will show live views of the meteor shower from the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa on Oct. 20. The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET, and you can watch the Orionid webcast on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh.