The Orionids meteor shower will be reaching its peak this year on October 22, 2015, in the early morning hours — or, to put it another way, the meteor shower will be peaking late at night on October 21.
The Orionids are usually best observed between the hours of around midnight and 4-5 am most years, so those interested in watching the peak this year are recommended to either find time late on the night of the 21st, or in the early morning pre-dawn hours of the 22nd.
2015 is set to be a pretty good year for the Orionid shower — as the Moon will be setting before the late night fun really picks up — with the pre-dawn hours, in particular, likely making for a good time to observe the interplanetary comet or asteroid dust disintegrate in the atmosphere.
As the name implies, the meteors for this meteor shower will appear to be radiating out from the constellation of Orion the Hunter — which will be located in the south-southeast portion of the early morning’s sky in late October. An easy way to find the constellation is to locate the bright, reddish star Betelgeuse (yes, the movie was named after the star) — which is a part of the constellation.
As this year looks likely to be an average one for the Orionids, observers can likely expect to see around 10-20 meteors an hour if they’re watching from a dark, rural location. A note on that regard — Orionids are relatively fast moving meteors, but they often leave behind persistent trails, as well as occasionally producing fireballs that light up the sky.
(Those interested in 2015’s other meteor showers should see: Meteor Showers 2015, Dates and Times, Perseids, Lyrids, Geminids, Leonids, Draconids, Orionids, Etc).
A couple of generalized recommendations on meteor shower watching here:
- Travel away from cities urban areas if you can. The light pollution in these places greatly lowers the amount of meteors that you can see (as well as lowering their intensity). The darker the place that you’re watching from, the better.
- Try to get comfortable. Blankets, jackets, reclining chairs, coffee, etc, all help.
- As it’s starting to get cold in some places, remember to dress warmly.