Home Science Orionid meteor shower 2019 is peaking soon. Here’s how to see these shooting stars. – NJ.com

Orionid meteor shower 2019 is peaking soon. Here’s how to see these shooting stars. – NJ.com

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The Orionid meteor shower is considered to be the best meteor shower of the fall season and among the best ones of the entire year. And experts are hoping the 2019 version — which is peaking in the next few days — lives up to its billing.

This dazzling meteor shower, which occurs when the Earth passes through tiny particles of space debris from the famous Halley’s Comet, is active for almost five weeks but will be at its best from the late-night hours on Monday, Oct. 21, into the early-morning hours on Tuesday, Oct. 22, according to astronomy experts from AccuWeather and Space.com.

“I would rank the Orionids in the top five meteor showers of the year,” AccuWeather astronomy blogger Dave Samuhel said. ”It will be the strongest shower since the Perseids of August.”

The key to that is Mother Nature needs to cooperate with clear skies. As of now, forecasters from AccuWeather are calling for heavy cloud cover in many eastern states during the hours when the meteor shower is supposed to peak.

AccuWeather

Forecasters from AccuWeather say the best areas to see the Orionid meteor shower when it peaks will likely be in the southern and western regions of the United States.

Best time to see the Orionid meteor shower

If you want to catch a glimpse of the Orionid meteor shower, you can pick any night during the next few days. However, your chances of seeing one or more shooting stars will get better late Monday night into the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday.

That’s when the most meteors will be zipping across the sky. The Orionids usually produce 20 to 25 meteors per hour, but that number gets lower when the moon is shining bright or when clouds get in the way.

The October moon — known as the hunter’s moon when it reaches its peak size — turned full on Oct. 13, so it will be about half full early this week. For star gazing, that’s better than the bright light of a full moon.

Worth noting: Some years, the Orionid meteor shower has been known to put on a better show than anticipated. Among them was the period of 2006 to 2009, when the shower produced as many as 50 to 75 meteors per hour at its peak, AccuWeather noted.

Full sturgeon moon and Perseid meteor shower

Shutterstock

The Orionid meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through tiny particles of space debris from the famous Halley’s Comet.

How to view the Orionid meteor shower

Just like any meteor shower, experts say your odds are better to see the most shooting stars from the Orionids if you can find a dark location, as far away from bright city lights as possible. Try going to a park or open field with a good view of the sky.

You won’t need any special equipment, like telescopes or binoculars. Experts say you just need your own set of eyes, but you should give them about 20 minutes to adjust to the dark before looking for meteors shooting across the night sky.

Why they are called the Orionids

The Orionids get their name from the constellation Orion, from which they originate. Although these meteors will shoot out from that area of the sky, experts say if you look up at any part of the sky you should be able to see some shooting stars from almost any direction.

Len Melisurgo may be reached at LMelisurgo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @LensReality or like him on Facebook. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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