Catching an occasional shooting star is one thing, but with the right timing you can see dozens to hundreds of them in a single night. We're in the peak season for the Orionid Showers, read on to catch a glimpse.
Photo by V. Winter.
October 17th to October 25th is the viewing window for the Orionid Showers, an annual meteor shower created by debris kicked off of Halley's Comet. The absolute peak of the show was in the early morning today, but tonight will still offer excellent viewing. The best viewing time is early morning before sunrise, you'll still see meteors if you stay up late to catch them but early morning is optimal. Some advice from NASA on catching the show:
Some of those counts come in flurries, so skywatchers should find a comfortable spot with as wide a view of the sky as possible. Lie back and allow 15 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, then give the show at least a half hour to play out through spurts and lulls. Meteors could appear anywhere in the sky, though traced back they will appear to emanate from the constellation Orion.
Telescopes and binoculars are of no use, because meteors move too quickly. Extra warm clothing is a must, and a blanket and pillow or lounge chair allows comfortable positioning so you can look up for long stretches.
You'll also, of course, want to get as far away from city lights as possible. This is also a great time to photograph the night time sky. Don't feel too bad if you won't have a great time in the next few days to enjoy the showers, schedule in a viewing for next year. The Orionid showers are a consistent and showy night sky feature every year in October.
Get Out: Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks Overnight [Yahoo! News]