October may be best known for pumpkins, fall weather and haunted houses, but the month is also prime time for meteor showers. Budding astronomers and stargazers will want to mark their calendars for the peak of the Orionid meteor shower, which is coming up this weekend.
The Orionid meteor shower takes place every October when the Earth passes through a trail of debris left behind by Halley’s Comet (which we sadly won’t see again until 2061). While it will be visible from October 2 through November 7, it’s expected to peak on the night of October 20 through early morning on October 21.
At its peak, 25 meteors per hour are expecting to streak across the sky. And the very best time for stargazers to see the shower is just after midnight, AccuWeather reports. “The moon will set during the evening, making for excellent viewing conditions,” Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.
Earlier this month, stargazers were treated to the Draconid meteor shower, which peaked on Sunday, October 8. The event derives its name from the constellation Draco the Dragon, which is the spot in the sky where the shower will begin, EarthSky reports. It’s a rare phenomenon because it can be seen best in the evening right after sunset, as opposed to just before dawn.
Take time this weekend to find a spot under the open sky away from cities, artificial lights, and pollution. Then, it’s as easy as looking up!