October 21, 22 – Orionids Meteor Shower

The Orionids meteor shower is a prolific event that is best observed on October 21 and 22. This meteor shower is just one of the meteor showers associated with the Halley Comet. Another meteor shower associated with the comet is the Eta Aquarids, which peaks in May.
This particular meteor shower is known as the Orionids since they originate from the Orion constellation. During it’s peak, the Orionids meteor shower produces between 20 and 50 meteors per hour. However, the best time to see them is in the middle of the shower since during the beginning and end of the shower they are barely detectable.

History On The Orionids Meteor Shower
The Orionids meteor shower was first discovered by E.C. Herrick. He became the first person to study them back in 1839 when he made an ambiguous statement that there was a meteor shower that could be seen from October 8 through October 15. However, it was not until 1864 that the first precise study was conducted by A.S. Herschel.
Hershel’s studies concluded that the shower actually occurred in late October. Once his studies were published, observing the Orionids in late October became an annual event, even to this today. Since then, more studies have been done on the Orionids meteor shower with an emphasis placed on learning more about them.

How The Shower Comes About
The Orionids meteor shower occurs every October as the earth passes through a trail of debris and dust that is left behind by Halley’s Comet on it’s trips toward the sun. When this occurs, the earth picks up some of this debris. As this debris crashes into the earth’s atmosphere at a high rate of speed, (238,00 km/h), they ignite. We see these entries as a bright dazzle in the sky. Some of the debris even survives this ignition and makes it’s way into the earth’s atmosphere where it is seen as meteors.

How To Get The Best View
To have the best view of the Orionids meteor shower, avoid places where there is a lot of artificial lighting, such as near cities. You don’t need any type of optical aid in order to see the meteor shower, however, since it will occur at night, it is important to carry warm clothing to shield yourself from the cold.
The best time to see the Orionids is anytime after midnight up to pre-dawn when the moon has set. If you want to see where the constellation Orion lies, mentally trace the shooting star back and you will see that it’s origin is the constellation Orion. More specifically, the origin can be placed on the northeastern part of the constellation near the border with the constellation Gemini.

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