Orionids: October 21-22
The second meteor shower of the month peaks on the night of October 21-22, with the best activity between midnight and dawn’s early light. This major shooting star display is called the Orionids, for the meteors appear to radiate out of the sky just above Orion’s head and not far from his bright red super giant star Betelgeuse, which marks his right shoulder. These remnants of Halley’s Comet intercept the Earth’s orbit nearly head-on at 41.6 miles per second, so they quickly blaze across the sky.
Orion can easily be found. At 3:30 a.m. this giant of a constellation will be due south of your location and about halfway up above the horizon. A thin Waning Crescent Moon will be towards your east and will not affect observing conditions. Therefore, one could expect the typical hourly rate to peak at around 20 or so yellow and green meteors per hour. The Orionids are also noted for producing fireballs that create persistent dust trains high in the atmosphere.
While waiting for “burning rocks” to fall from the sky, you will certainly notice the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, to the lower left and east of Orion. However, there will be an even brighter object noticeable that morning—Jupiter, to the upper right and west of Orion. Now rising before 7:00 p.m., Jupiter is observable at a more decent hour during the early evening.
Will I finally see some this time?