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Meteor Shower Time: The Orionids

Sooooo I completely forgot about the Draconids… to be fair last year I forgot about the Orionids so it seems only fair to let it stand on its own this October. After a week of busy shuffling I am back home in Boulder and ready to get back to stargazing! Well fortunately for me at SciCommCamp we stargazed and I got to spot a meteor (I think I was the only one who saw it too! #blessed). So I wasn’t completely deprived but anyways enough about me. LETS TALK ABOUT HOW TO SEE THE ORIONIDS THIS WEEKEND!!!!

Orionid Meteor Shower by John Flannery

WHEN is it?
This shower is scheduled to peak on the morning of the 21st but you should be able to see it from now until then! It is visible after midnight and has the most meteors just before sunrise.  Good news for you early birds out there…that I am not. The moon is new October 19th so no worrying about washed out meteors. Be sure to go somewhere with limited light pollution though (my guide here).

WHERE should you look?
So the constellation these are close to is Orion, hence the name. They are closest, however, to Orion’s star Betelgeuse which is pretty easy to find in the sky. It is the reddish star that is Orion’s shoulder/armpit. However, if you aren’t that familiar with the sky don’t worry; you can use an app (like the one I suggested).phone app guide Pick a star in the constellation and use the app to figure out where the constellation is. You can even figure out when it rises and sets. If you use the app I do, make sure you turn on sky object trajectories and use that as a guide for where the star (or constellation) will be at what time. It should be on automatically but in case it is not, it is the button on the upper right of the settings (as shown on the right). Also fun fact Betelgeuse is my FAVORITE star…. well besides the Sun of course 😉

WHAT are the meteors made of?
These meteors are actually made from our beloved Halley’s comet. They are the remnants of dust and debris that the sun burned off the comet and thus were left in the Earth’s orbit. Every time at this year the Earth collides with those remnants and they burn up in our atmosphere to make up the Orionids. Side note: the Eta Aquarids are also remnants of Halley’s comet. They come every May.


Happy Observing!!


Next on the Lineup: The South Taurids in early November

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