Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Orionids Meteor Shower Peaks Early Tuesday Morning

Orionids meteor captured by a NASA all sky meteor camera.
Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/MEO


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida --   The 2014 Orionid Meteor Shower peaks during the early morning of Tuesday, October 21, 2014.   Autumn's best meteor shower promises to be more spectacular than previous years thanks to dark skies from a New Moon that occurs on October 23.     


NASA is streaming a live broadcast of the Orionid meteor shower online for meteor watchers experiencing bad weather or light-polluted night skies.  The broadcast is located at the bottom of this article.



When is the best time to watch
Orionids meteor shower?


The best time to watch this October meteor shower is one to two hours before sunrise.   


 
What are the best dates to watch the Orionids meteor shower in October 2014?


Dark night skies are best for watching meteors, so the Moon plays an important role as to which dates are best for meteor shower viewing.  The Moon will decrease in brightness every night until a New Moon occurs on October 23, 2014.  After the New Moon, the moonrise will not occur until after sunrise from the 24th through the 28th.  So the darkest predawn mornings closest to the meteor shower's peak are October 21-24, 2014.


"We expect to see about 20 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Tuesday morning, Oct 21st," says Bill Cooke, the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.  "With no Moon to spoil the show, observing conditions should be ideal." 



Where to look for the 2014 Orionids Meteor Shower tonight:

Orion Constellation.  Image Credit: NASA
Find Orion's noticeable three-star belt in the night sky, then follow his raised arm to his elbow to see the origination point of the Orionids (see image above).  Orion will be almost straight above the viewer's head 1 to 2 hours before sunrise.


The Orionid Meteor Shower is named after the constellation Orion because the meteors appear to come from just north of Orion's bright star Betelgeuse.  It is made up of debris left by Halley's Comet with a debris field that is so wide that encompasses the entire distance between the Earth and the Moon.