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American Meteor Society

Viewing the Orionid Meteor Shower in 2020

13 Oct 2020, 10:43 UTC
Viewing the Orionid Meteor Shower in 2020
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Each October the Earth passes through the inbound debris of Halley’s Comet to produce the Orionid Meteor Shower. Activity is usually low until mid-month, when we pass closer to the core of these orbits.

This year the maximum activity is predicted to occur on the morning of October 21st, when up to 20 swift Orionid meteors should be visible per hour from rural locations away from city lights. Orionid meteors are not visible until after 22:00 (10pm) local daylight saving time as the source of these meteors does not rise above the eastern horizon until then. The best time to see these meteors is from 01:00 to dawn, when the Orionid radiant lies in excess of 30 degrees above the horizon. At the time of maximum activity the source of these meteors lies just east of the faint club of Orion. This position also lies about 10 degrees northeast of the bright orange star known as Betelgeuse (alpha Orionis). 10 degrees is equal to one’s fist with your arm held straight out.

The bright moon often interferes with viewing meteor activity by obscuring the fainter meteors. We will not encounter any such problems this year as the waxing crescent moon ...

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