Orionid meteor shower

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Orionid meteor shower

Postby meteorgw » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:09 am

Is anyone interested in joining me at Bassingham to observe the Orionid meteor shower? Unfortunately, the best times are after midnight and it happens mid-week this year. Contact me at graham@lincolnastronomy.org.

The following has been copied from the SPA website - by Tony Markham, Meteor Section Director.

2015 Orionids

The best of the early/mid autumn meteor showers.
Main Activity Dates Oct 14 - 31
Peak Rates Oct 20 - 23
Peak ZHR 20 - 25
Best Observed Rates Late in the nights of Oct 21 - 23
Visibility each night (UK) Only after the radiant rises at ~ 21h UT
Moonlight issues at Maximum Only before midnight (First Quarter is on Oct 20)

The Orionid meteor shower arises from the Earth's pre-perihelion encounter with the meteor stream of comet 1P/Halley.

The Orionids usually produce good observed rates, especially in the later part of the night. Although some meteor shower listings give a start date in early October, Orionid rates remain very low until the third week of the month. There is no sharp maximum and good rates should be seen during Oct 20-23. The peak ZHR will probably be about 20 this year (the actual observed hourly rate will, of course, depend on the darkness of your observing site). Strong Orionid activity (ZHRs ~35-80) occurred in the years 2006-2010 inclusive, when such rates persisted for two or more nights at these levels. However, no repeat is expected this time, but surprises can occur. Orionid meteors are typically swift moving, with good persistent trains.

Bear in mind that the Orionid radiant doesn't rise until around 21h UT and so no Orionids will be seen before this time.

With the Moon having passed through First Quarter on Oct 20, observations before midnight will suffer some interference from moonlight (although the Moon will be in the western sky and the Orionid radiant will be in the eastern sky). However, observations in the later part of the night, when the Orionid radiant is high in the sky, will be in moon-free skies. As an example, during the night of Oct 21-22, the Moon will be near the Capricornus/Aquarius border and, for observers at the latitude of the UK, will set by around midnight local time.

The Orionid radiant is shown on the chart below - note that the radiant lies closer to Gemini than to the main pattern of Orion. For the best observed rates, choose an area of sky around 30 degrees from the radiant and at an altitude of around 50 degrees above the horizon.
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