HomeOutdoorsOrionids Meteor Shower Will Be Visible Tonight: Here’s How to Watch

Orionids Meteor Shower Will Be Visible Tonight: Here’s How to Watch

by Jennifer Shea
Alan Dyer/VWPics/Universal Images Group

The Orionids meteor shower runs from early October through November 7, but it peaks October 20 to 21.

The meteor shower was created by dust from the wake of Halley’s Comet, Smithsonian magazine reports. It could be particularly visible this year because the moon will be a thin crescent that won’t offer much moonlight to conflict with the meteor shower.

The Orionids meteors are renowned for their speed and their brightness, according to NASA. They travel fast, hurtling through the Earth’s atmosphere at 148,000 mph. And they sometimes leave “trains” – glowing bits of debris in the meteor’s wake – that light up the sky for seconds to minutes after the meteor passes.

The meteor shower derives its name from the point in the sky from which the meteor streaks appear to originate, according to Space.com. It’s near the constellation Orion, which is in the shape of the hunter; look next to the hunter’s lifted arm. 

The Orionids meteor shower can be seen from both hemispheres after midnight. But it must be viewed from somewhere far away from city or street lights. Don’t bother to bring a telescope or binoculars, Smithsonian advises, because that constricts the amount of sky you can see.

NASA advises people to bring a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair. Then lie flat on your back. Your feet should be facing southeast if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and northeast if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Try to look at as much of the sky as possible.

After about 30 minutes in the dark, you should start to see meteors. They should appear sometime between the hours after midnight and dawn, so be prepared to spend some time waiting.