ESA/Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research
Halley's comet, parent of both the Orionid and Eta Aquarid meteor showers. The Orionids peak on October 20-21, 2013, this year.

Orionids, Dimmed by Moonlight, Will Do Their Best to Shine


Orion the constellation is the hunter, and that is what anyone seeking the meteor shower that emanates from this stellar grouping will have to do this year in the light of a nearly full moon.

The shower, composed of remnants of Halley’s Comet (as are its cousins the Eta Aquarids, which grace our skies in February), will peak on October 20-21. The moon reached fullness, the Hunter’s moon, on the 18th. The fall full moon tends to spend more time in the sky that at other times of the year because of the angle of its orbit.

RELATED: Shadowy Eclipse Dims Hunter's Moon

Eta Aquarid Shooting Stars, Messengers From Halley's Comet, at Their Peak

“The Orionids are noted for being bright and quick fragments, according to NASA, with an average speed of about 148,000 mph,” reports. “However, this year's shower, predicted for the night of Oct. 20-21, may be spoiled by moonlight.”

Halley’s comet only swings by every 76 years, so it won’t be back within our sights until 2061, said. But the trail it leaves as it flies through the solar system is what we pass through as we hurtle around the sun, and it gives us quite a show, when the light is right.

It is possible to see meteors even this time, especially if one looks anywhere but Orion, the radiant. The best viewing begins at 1 or 2 a.m. and stretches till dawn, said. As with most sky shows, the more rural and dark the location, the more meteors will be visible.

“At its peak, the shower sends 15 to 20 meteors per hour across the sky,” said. “Additionally, sky watchers can expect to see 5 to 10 sporadic meteors an hour on any night.”

The shower is active from October 2 through November 7, though the peak dates are the 20th and 21st, NASA said in a statement about this year’s Orionids. At their peak there should be 20 meteors per hour, in moonless skies. They are traveling 41 miles per second when they slam into Mother Earth’s atmosphere.

They “are considered to be one of the most beautiful showers of the year,” NASA said.

“Orionid meteors are known for their brightness and for their speed,” NASA said, adding that fast meteors such as these can leave glowing incandescent “trains” of debris in their wake lasting anywhere from several seconds, to minutes.

“Fast meteors can also sometimes become fireballs: Look for prolonged explosions of light when viewing the Orionid meteor shower,” NASA said. “The Orionids are also framed by some of the brightest stars and planets in the night sky, which lend a spectacular backdrop for these showy meteors.”

More on the Orionid meteor shower:

Orionid Meteor Shower and the Great Leader Tecumseh

Peaking Orionid Meteors Give Spectacular Show October 20-21


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Babu G. Ranganathan's picture
Babu G. Ranganathan
Submitted by Babu G. Ranganathan on
ASTEROIDS, COMETS, AND METEORS ORIGINATED FROM EARTH: In the Earth's past there were powerful volcanic explosions propelling millions of tons of earth soil and rock (now asteroids and meteors which may contain organic molecules or organisms) into space. Read my popular Internet article, ANY LIFE ON MARS CAME FROM EARTH. The article explains how millions of tons of Earth soil may exist on Mars, and how debris we call asteroids and meteors could have originated from Earth. According to a Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p. 12 that quotes a NASA scientist, SEVEN MILLION tons of Earth soil may exist on Mars! How could this be possible? Read and find out. Even if the right chemicals exist, life cannot arise by chance. The molecules that make-up life have to be in a sequence, just like the letters found in a sentence. Scientist and creationist, Brian Thomas explains: “Astronomers measure comets' masses and erosion rates to calculate potential lifespans. Sungrazing comets last fewer than 100,000 years.2 They thus confront secular astronomy which maintains that comets formed with the rest of the solar system billions of years ago. A solar system that old should have no remaining comets. How do secularists solve this dilemma? Reporting on Ison, The Independent said, "Comet Ison has taken millions of years to reach us travelling from the so-called Oort cloud – a reservoir of trillions and trillions of chunks of rock and ice, leftovers from the birth of the planets."3 Unfortunately, nobody has yet witnessed a single one of those "trillions and trillions of chunks." Going strictly with observational science, the "so-called Oort cloud" may exist only in the reservoir of the human mind. Clearly, secular astronomers invented the Oort cloud to rescue their billions-of-years dogma from a disintegration process that limits a comet's age—and thus the age of the Solar System—to thousands of years. When Ison becomes visible later this year, perhaps it will remind thoughtful viewers that the universe is quite young, just as Scripture teaches” (Brian Thomas, M.S., Science Writer at the Institute for Creation research). Check out my most recent Internet articles and sites: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION and WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS (2nd Edition) Babu G. Ranganathan* B.A. Bible/Biology Author of popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS *I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period afterwards) defending creation before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities. I've been privileged to be recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis "Who's Who in The East" for my writings on religion and science.