Orionids Will Peak Friday Night

orionids peak on oct 21, 2015 meteor showers, winter stargazing, delaware, sussex county, delmarva
Meteors streak outwards from the top of Orion’s head as seen in 2012 from central Victoria. (Phil Hart)

The Orionids, the most popular meteor shower for many stargazers, will peak Friday night, Oct 20th into the early dawn hours of Oct. 21st.  The reason for the popularity is the meteors are from fragments of ice and dust in the trail left behind by Halley’s Comet.  The Earth passes through this dust trail ever year around October 20 to the 22nd. Halley’s Comet last visited Earth in 1986 and will return in 2061.  Halley’s is the first periodic comet ever known, so it was given the designation P1.  The Orionids can display as many as 30 meteors per hour and can be seen in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.  The name Orionids is from the constellation Orion because that is where the meteors seem to radiate from.  The meteors’ visibility is best from Midnight to early dawn.  The Orionids move fast and only last a split to a few seconds so keep your eyes glued to the sky.  These meteors are commonly called falling stars, don’t forget to make a wish.  Delmarva will have excellent viewing conditions with clear skies tomorrow night.  Next up will be the Geminids in December, another very popular event.

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