Between a Full Harvest Moon, a rare Blue Moon, and Mars shining brightly, October is full of astronomical sights you won't want to miss. Need another reason to look up at the night sky in the coming weeks? The Orionid meteor shower peaks this month.
What Is the Orionid Meteor Shower?
The Orionid meteor shower appears starting in October each year, when Earth travels through debris from Halley's Comet. According to NASA, the Orionid meteor shower is one of the most beautiful showers of the year thanks to its meteors' brightness and speed. Traveling at about 148,000 miles per hour into the Earth's atmosphere, these meteors are super fast. Which is good news for skywatchers because fast meteors can leave glowing trains. And fast meteors can even become fireballs, which NASA describes as "prolonged explosions of light." During the Orionid meteor shower's peak, you can see about 10 to 15 meteors per hour.
When Is the Best Time to See the Orionid Meteor Shower?
This Orionid meteor shower is active from October 2 through November 7. This year, it's expected to peak the morning of Wednesday, October 21, according to EarthSky. Fortunately, the waxing moon will set early in the night, so there will be a dark sky as the backdrop for the meteor shower.
How Can I Watch the Orionid Meteor Shower?
As always, your best bet for skywatching is finding somewhere dark, far away from light pollution. For the best views of the meteor shower, NASA recommends lying flat on your back with your feet facing southeast, looking at as much of the sky as possible.
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