Orionid meteor shower peaks Oct. 20-21, 2012

Oct 18, 2012

As it does each year, early fall brings crisper air, turning leaves, and the Orionid meteor shower. This year's best viewing will be in the several hours around midnight October 20 and before dawn on October 21, according to the editors of StarDate magazine.

At its late-night peak, this year's shower is expected to produce around 25 meteors per hour. The first-quarter Moon will set around midnight, so its light will not interfere with the celestial show.

Orionid meteors appear to fall from above the star Betelgeuse, the bright orange star marking the shoulder of the . They are not associated with this star or constellation, but instead are leftover debris from Halley's Comet. The Orionid meteors recur each year when Earth passes through the comet's debris trail.

For your best view, get away from city lights. Look for state or city parks or other safe, dark sites. Lie on a blanket or reclining chair to get a full-sky view. If you can see all of the stars in the Little Dipper, you have good dark-adapted vision.

Published bi-monthly by The University of Texas at Austin McDonald , StarDate magazine provides readers with skywatching tips, skymaps, beautiful astronomical photos, astronomy news and features, and a 32-page Sky Almanac each January. The magazine is available in both print and digital formats.

Established in 1932, The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas, hosts multiple telescopes undertaking a wide range of under the darkest night skies of any professional observatory in the continental United States. McDonald is home to the consortium-run , one of the world's largest, which will soon be upgraded to begin the HET Dark Energy Experiment. An internationally known leader in astronomy education and outreach, McDonald Observatory is also pioneering the next generation of astronomical research as a founding partner of the Giant Magellan Telescope.

The production and distribution of StarDate Media is made possible by AEP Texas.

Explore further: Computer model shows moon's core surrounded by liquid and it's caused by Earth's gravity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Orionid meteor shower peaks Wednesday

Oct 19, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The annual Orionid meteor shower will peak in the hours before dawn on Oct. 21, according to the editors of StarDate magazine, who said the shower could produce up to 20 meteors per hour.

Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tuesday, Aug. 12

Aug 07, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- It's time once again for nature to put on its late-summer fireworks show: the Perseid meteor shower. This year's best viewing will be before dawn on Aug. 12, with a second chance after sunset ...

Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Wednesday

Nov 12, 2010

The Leonid meteor shower best viewing this year will be in the two to three hours before dawn on Nov. 17 and 18, according to the editors of StarDate magazine.

The Orionid meteor shower

Oct 15, 2012

Usually, waking up before sunrise is a good way to get a head start on the day. On Oct. 21st, waking up early could stop you in your tracks.

Recommended for you

Image: NASA's SDO observes a lunar transit

15 hours ago

On July 26, 2014, from 10:57 a.m. to 11:42 a.m. EDT, the moon crossed between NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and the sun, a phenomenon called a lunar transit.

Image: Tethys in sunlight

16 hours ago

Tethys, like many moons in the solar system, keeps one face pointed towards the planet around which it orbits. Tethys' anti-Saturn face is seen here, fully illuminated, basking in sunlight. On the right side ...

User comments : 0