Look Up! Don’t Miss the Orionid Meteor Shower
Over the next few nights you should keep your eyes toward the sky as we hit the peak of the Orionid meteor shower.
You know, there's just something about watching a meteor shower and seeing all those "shooting stars" streak across the sky. It kind of puts everything in perspective of just how small we really are in this universe. And it's just a neat and pretty experience, especially when you see a whole bunch of shooting stars, instead of just one or two.
Whether you're an avid sky-watcher, or maybe you're just interested in checking out a few falling stars, now and over the next few nights is the time to be looking up.
Space.com says the meteor shower can be seen every night between now (October 18th) through October 29th, but the peak will be this weekend, really early Saturday morning and Sunday morning, the 20th and 21st. And when we say "really early" we mean it, like around 2am. But who says you can't stay up extra late on Friday night to catch the show Saturday morning?? According to Space.com,
Sometimes the shower peaks at 80 meteors an hour; at others it is closer to 20 or 30.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like this year is going to be the best for the Orionid meteor shower, but that doesn't mean you can't still watch those fireballs streak across the sky and see some breath-taking sights. Just don't expect to see 80 meteors an hour, we're looking at the lower end of the scale this year.
Alright, so now you know when to look, but how about where? ...Besides up (you smart aleck). Well, Space.com states:
Orionid meteors are visible from anywhere on Earth and can be seen anywhere across the sky. If you find the shape of Orion the Hunter, the meteor shower's radiant (or point of origin) will be near Orion's sword, slightly north of his left shoulder (the star Betelgeuse).
And there's one more piece of bad news that comes with this year's Orionid meteor shower. Not only will you have to worry about the moon being too bright and making some of the meteors hard to see, you'll also have to worry about the weather and cloud cover. Tonight won't be too bad, as the National Weather Service out of Binghamton is calling for partly cloudy skies for our area. Unfortunately, there's a chance of showers tomorrow night and a higher chance on Saturday night.
Even with the bad timing and less meteors expected this year, seeing any shooting stars is always an amazing sight. Whether you get a lawn chair out and stare at the night sky for hours, or just take a break and look up after driving around all evening, make sure you at least take a minute out of your night to see if you can spot a falling star or two.