The Orionids Meteor Shower is visible once a year in both the southern and northern hemispheres. 2017 peak viewing is October 21-22.From October 21 to 22, area residents will have the chance to see the Orionids Meteor Shower during the nighttime hours and just before dawn. The Orionids Meteor Shower is usually active every year in October, generally peaking around October 20. The meteor shower is one of many that occurs every year but it's also one of the most easily visible. The Orionids Meteor Shower gets its name from the Orion Constellation which is the origin point in the sky where stargazers can locate the shower. The Orionids are caused by debris from Halley’s Comet entering the earth’s atmosphere, even though the comet is far away and won't pass by Earth again until 2061. As the comet races through the solar system, the debris it leaves behind is left floating along the path of the earth’s orbit around the sun. When the earth reaches the space particles each year, the debris produces some of the fastest and brightest meteor showers. [caption id="attachment_3929" align="aligncenter" width="943"] Courtesy of dawdlez.com[/caption] Watching the Orionids is truly awe-inspiring. Though peak viewing is not until this weekend, stargazers have already been spotting shooting stars on clear nights. Best viewing possibilities are outside of the city, in rural farmland areas, forests, and parks, away from artificial light. Clear skies and weather are also a must, but good news: this week’s weather is forecasted to be cooperative! And while bright moonlight can sometimes hinder viewing, 2017’s moon cycle is such that it will not have any effect.
The best time to see the meteor shower is estimated to be about 2 a.m. A telescope or binoculars are not necessary and won't improve viewing. So, what will you see if you decide to watch? During the peak time, stargazers on average will see 20 to 30 meteors per hour and sometimes as many as 80! But make sure to give your eyes plenty of time to adjust to the darkness. [caption id="attachment_3930" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Courtesy of Bronberg Weather Station/Photo Pills[/caption] The Orionids can be located by first finding the Orion Constellation in the sky and then locating Orion’s sword. Once you have a clear view of the constellation and Orion’s sword just over his left shoulder, you should look slightly away as meteors are better visible outside of the light of the constellation’s stars. If you want to learn more about the Orionids, Meteors and other cyclical meteor showers, visit the American Meteor Society’s website.