Starwatch: Orionid meteor shower peaks this week

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Starwatch for the week of October 19-25, 2020

This week the Orionid meteor shower peaks!

The shower began on October 2 and ends on November 7, 2020. The peak occurs on Wednesday, October 21 just before sunrise. The best time to looks for meteors is between midnight and sunrise. 

Fortunately, the moon will be setting in the Tri-Cities just before 11 p.m.. This will allow for a darker sky and more meteors to be seen.

In a dark setting away from city lights, you may see 10-20 meteors per hour.

These meteors are fast moving and sometimes bright. They may even leave a persistent train, or a glowing streak that lingers a few moments after the meteor is gone. 

The shower gets its name from the constellation it radiates from, Orion the Hunter. This constellation will be in the east later in the evening. 

The Orionids themselves come from the infamous Comet Halley. We are not close to the Halley’s Comet, but every year around this time we pass through its orbit and debris. The last time Comet Halley came close to Earth was in 1986 and the next time it nears our planet in is 2061.

Thanks to EarthSky and NASA

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