October brings warmth, happiness, celebration, and delight. This year it brings more, a month full of celestial events. This light shows in Earth’s celestial canopy show off just how dynamic and active our universe really is, with their dazzling flashes appearing faster than any other object in the night sky, like the movement of constellations or the passing shadow of a lunar eclipse.
There is surely something very enticing about meteor showers (commonly known as shooting stars). The term meteor shower might give you the idea of a rain shower. But few meteor showers resemble showers of rain. The moon won’t interfere because it will be in a crescent phase (about 23% full) and will dip below the horizon before the shower starts up.
This medium-strength shower can outburst and reach higher rates, but the Orionid meteor shower has produced “low to average displays” in recent years, according to AMS.
Orionid meteors are basically a by-product of Halley’s comet. They are named after the constellations they appear from, Orion is this case. Orion is one of the most easier constellations to spot with the three stars that make up its belt, yet so elegant. They usually fly between about October 2 to November 7, and this year the expected peak morning is October 21st, 2020 (with the rates of about 10-20 meteors per hour). They usually appear around midnight local time. It’s fine to start looking out for it now too, they might surprise you. The moon is in a crescent phase, setting before midnight, providing dark skies for this year’s Orionid meteor shower.
While you are looking for Orion, try to keep an eye on the red star Betelgeuse too. As it’s been dimming over the last few months, and the astronomical community has been monitoring it closely in the event the dimming is a precursor to a supernova.