This weekend the peak activity of the Orionids takes place, a meteor shower created by the famous Halley’s Comet. Due to the crescent moon, it will be preferable to observe shooting stars after midnight.
The Orionids take place from October 4 to November 10, approximately, reaching their maximum activity on the nights of October 20 to 21 and 21 to 22, at which time we will be able to observe about 20 shooting stars per hour in optimal conditions. It is therefore a much less abundant meteor shower than the Perseids or the Leonids, but the Orionids have the peculiarity that half of them are very bright (some shine brighter than the planet Venus).
And it is that the Orionids They are fast and relatively large meteors, their speeds can exceed 60 kilometers per second and they usually leave yellow or greenish trails. In sufficiently dark skies, some of these contrails may remain visible for several seconds.
As its name suggests, the radiant of this meteor shower is located in the bright Orion constellation and, more specifically, near the bright star Betelgeuse, but you do not need to know this star or this constellation to observe the meteors that can appear on any side of the celestial vault. As the radiant is relatively close to the celestial equator, the Orionids can be observed from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
On the nights of this weekendthe Moon will be in its first quarter, since the full moon will take place on October 28. Orion will reach a good height above the horizon towards 23:30 hours, and the Moon will go to bed shortly after, leaving the background of the sky very dark. For all these reasons, it will be preferable to observe the meteors after midnightand. If we observed before that moment, it would be advisable to look away from the Moon’s position to try to locate a bright bolide.