Orionid meteor shower: Lack of moonlight makes for excellent viewing conditions

Posted October 21, 2017

Mr Kerss said: "We expect the peak to occur on the night of 21/22 October when the young crescent Moon will set conveniently before the radiant of the shower - the point from which the meteors appear to spread out - rises in the east".

FANCY wrapping up warm, settling down under the stars and marvelling at the next meteor shower to grace our skies? We will get to witness 20 to 80 meteors per hour, according to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke.

The annual Orionid Meteor Shower peaks this weekend and the best viewing in the Philadelphia area will be Friday night into Saturday morning.

So what exactly is it?

Shower and storm chances will continue into next work week with our best chances for storms and potentially some heavy rain moving through with the storm system Monday.

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The meteors you see are particles that were shed by Comet 1P/Halley, which is known in popular culture as Halley's Comet. You can find that out here. Image copyright Luis Argerich/NASA Image caption This streak from the Orionids was taken from the Mercedes Observatory, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Image copyright Digital Vision.

The meteors get their name from this constellation, because they originate near it; however, they can be seen across the entire sky.

When space rocks hit the Moon, they make craters, but when they collide with Earth they burn up as they enter the atmosphere, giving them their bright lights.

The Orionids will be the brightest at 2 a.m. on both October 21 and October 22, says Cooke.

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Darkness is key when trying to watch for meteors.

As always, light pollution from the city will obscure views of the meteors, so it is best to travel as far away from them as possible.

What is the best place to watch the Orionids meteor shower?

It's a rare phenomenon because it can be seen best in the evening right after sunset, as opposed to just before dawn.

However, city lights always pose a problem, so if you live near town, hop in your vehicle and head out into the country. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above.

Good luck, meteor spotters!

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