Posted by: tpsciencefun | October 20, 2012

Meteor Shower Delight!

2012 Draconid meteor against the backdrop of the MIlky Way. Photo by EarthSky Facebook friend Stacy Oliver Bryant in Georgia.

Watch for the Orionid meteor shower on the morning of October 21, 2012. The actual peak is 4 UTC on October 21 (11 p.m. CDT on October 20). If you are in Asia, the following morning – October 22 – might be best for you. Like most meteor showers, this one is better after midnight – no matter where you are on the globe. There is a waxing crescent moon setting before midnight (on October 20). That means a dark sky between midnight and dawn, or during the best viewing hours for the Orionid meteors.

On a dark, moonless night, the Orionids exhibit a maximum of about 20 meteors per hour. These fast-moving meteors occasionally leave persistent trains and bright fireballs. If you trace these meteors backward, they seem to come from the Club of the famous constellation Orion the Hunter. You might know Orion’s bright, ruddy star Betelgeuse. The radiant is north of Betelgeuse.

The Orionids have a broad and irregular peak that isn’t easy to predict. The best viewing for the Orionids in 2012 will probably be before dawn on October 21 (October 22 in Asia). No matter where you are on the globe, you might also try the mornings before and after that.

Find the time of moonset in your location with this custom calendar (check moonrise and moonset option)

Find out about meteor showers for the rest of the year: EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2012

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