The Orionids meteor shower, one of the fall’s most famous night sky spectacles, is expected to rain down its greatest number of meteors this weekend, October 21-22.
The Orionids, which typically peak during the middle of October, are considered to be one of the most beautiful showers of the year.
Orionid meteors are known for their brightness and for their speed, as these meteors are fast – they travel at about 148,000 mph (66 km/s) into Earth’s atmosphere, and the speeding meteors can leave glowing “trains” (incandescent bits of debris in the wake of the meteor) which last for several seconds to minutes.
Fast meteors can also sometimes become fireballs: Look for prolonged explosions of light when viewing the Orionid meteor shower. The Orionids are also framed by some of the brightest stars in the night sky, which lend a spectacular backdrop for these showy meteors.
How to watch the Orionid meteor shower
- Predicted peak: The predicted peak is Saturday and Sunday, October 21-22, 2023
- When to watch: The Orionids meteor shower will peak on the evening of October 22. You should be able to see some shooting star activity as early as 11:00 p.m., just above the Southeast horizon. The shower will improve all night as it rises, (along with the Orion constellation), higher in the sky. The best viewing will probably be between 4 and 5:30 a.m. on Sunday morning
- Overall shower duration: September 26 to November 22.
- Expected meteors at peak, and under ideal conditions: Under a dark sky with no moon, the Orionids produce a maximum of about 10 to 20 meteors per hour.