Orionids Meteor Shower Peaks Sunday Night, October 20 2013

The Orionid meteor shower will be reaching its peak only a couple of days from now — late on the night of Sunday October 20 2013 (early morning on Monday October 21 2013). The shower is already producing pretty well though, so if you want to head out tonight you might be able to see a few — of course with the Full Moon out right now it might be too bright to see that many.

The exact peak will occur sometime between the hours of 2-5 AM on Monday October 21, 2013 — and will appear to be originating from the constellation of Orion the Hunter, in the South/Southeast portion of the sky. The reddish colored and giant star Betelgeuse will appear right next to the radiant.

Image Credit: Orion and Orionid via Flickr CC

The Orionids usually produce somewhere around 20-25 meteors an hour when seen from a dark rural location, but thanks to the bright Full Moon coinciding with the peak of the shower this year, the number visible will probably be notably less. While the peak will be on the 20th/21st, the Orionids are actually a rather long-lasting meteor shower, so if you head out sometime in early November or so, after the Moon enters a darker phase, you might still be able to see a few — the last stragglers will be visible until the middle or so of November.

As always with meteor showers, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

• Find the darkest sky that you can, preferably far from city lights — dark, rural locations are ideal.

• Get comfortable — a reclining chair, warm clothes, blankets, pillows, etc.

• A cup of warm coffee or chocolate tends to make the experience more enjoyable.

For information on the other great meteor showers of the year, see: Meteor Showers 2013 Dates and Times, Geminids, Orionids, Leonids, Draconids, Ursids, Taurids, Etc

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