2016 Meteor Shower viewing guide
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Orionids information

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General Info  

How can I best view the Orionids meteor shower?

If you live near a brightly lit city, drive away from the glow of city lights and toward the constellation from which the meteors will appear to radiate. For example, drive north to view the Orionids. Driving south may lead you to darker skies, but the glow will dominate the northern horizon, where Gemini rises. Perseid meteors will appear to "rain" into the atmosphere from the constellation Gemini, which rises in the southeast around 11 p.m. in mid-October.

After you've escaped the city glow, find a dark, secluded spot where oncoming car headlights will not periodically ruin your sensitive night vision. Look for state or city parks or other safe, dark sites. Once you have settled at your observing spot, lay back or position yourself so the horizon appears at the edge of your peripheral vision, with the stars and sky filling your field of view. Meteors will instantly grab your attention as they streak by.

A bright meteor may leave a ghostly glowing trail after it has passed. The technical name for this is a train - i.e. the fast moving streak is the meteor's trail and a glowing remnant of the trail is known as the meteor's train.

How do I know the sky is dark enough to see meteors?

If you can see each star of the Little Dipper, your eyes have "dark adapted," and your chosen site is probably dark enough. Under these conditions, you will see plenty of meteors. Circle October 14th on your calendar, for early that morning a moderate to possibly very strong showing of annual Perseid meteor shower is likely. The very strong display will favor those living across much of the Northern Hemisphere.  In this region, meteor rates might briefly rise to a few hundred per hour (the time frame for the most intense activity is anticipated sometime around 21:40 GMT). 

A far more modest, but still potentially enjoyable display of a few dozen Leonid meteors per hour is expected to favor North America. In the United States and Canada, eastern observers will be particularly well-positioned for maximum activity, expected sometime between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m., when the radiant of the Leonid shower will be well up in the dark southeastern sky.


Moon forecast for October 21st

Waning Gibbous. Orionids shower gazing conditions will not be ideal. The moon will obstruct all but the brightest Orionids.


Orionids meteor shower fact file

First apeared: 36 A.D.

Name origin: Appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus.

Parent: Swift-Tuttle (comet)

Active start date: July 17th

ZHR/Rate on peak: 30-50 per hour

Active end date: October 24th


Past Orionids Showers (Videos)

Orionids 1
Orionids 2
Orionids 3
General Info Orionids History

History of Orionids coming soon!


The Orionids: 1994 and beyond

Stay tuned as the Spacedex write up is currently in progress.

General Info

How can I best view the Orionids meteor shower?

The Orionids meteor shower has been observed for nearly 200 years, with the earliest sighting credited to E.C. Herrick of Connecticut, who in 1839, was the first individual to state that there is meteor activity annually around the 8th and 15th of October. Orionids is one of the top meteor showers to observe during the 4th quarter of the year, producing up to 20 green and yellow meteors per hour during its peak.Orionids meteors are also known to be speedy, with meteors soaring through the night sky at approximately 66 km/s (147,638 miles per hour)—ninja reflexes are required to capture the magic on camera.

Autumn is in full force in the Northern Hemisphere, and that can only mean that the peak of the Orionids meteor shower is quickly approaching. This annual celestial event is the most prolific meteor shower associated with Hailley’s Comet and the second of two showers (the first being ETA Aquarids) that occur due to the Earth passing through the dust of the famed comet.

In fact, most meteor showers are the product of Earth passing into the dust particles of a comet. Many thousands of years ago, Halley’s Comet left a trail of dust behind as it traveled through space. The Orionid meteor shower takes place when Earth travels right through that trail of dust and debris every year. What appear to be shooting stars are actually tiny grains of dust burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.

While the Orionids may be active from October 2nd through November 7th, it is strongest on the night of October 20th, and into the morning of October 21st, when it will peak. The peak of a meteor shower is the moment of the strongest meteor activity, and the number of meteors during this time is expected to range from 15 to 25 meteors per hour under ideal viewing conditions. As with many meteor showers, predicting the peak of the Orionids is difficult; we’ve seen an upwards of 40 meteor showers per hour during various years, while other years have seen a modest 5 during peak hours.

The radiant and Waning Gibbous Moon in 2016

In 2016, the Orionids peak will occur during the Last Quarter Moon (50% full). Due to this, viewing conditions will not be favortable this year. Meteor shower devotees may still glance up at the sky—as these fast moving meteors are capable of leaving persistent trails and unforgettable bright fireballs.

The radiant of Orionids, also known as the point from which all of the meteors appear to come from, is the “club” of the famous constellation Orion. Not by accident, the Orionids meteor shower is named after the constellation Orion due to this fact. The club is located at a point in the sky not too far from Orion’s red giant star Betelgeuse. While waiting for shooting stars to fall, you will notice the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, to the lower left and east of Orion.

The Last Quarter Moon will be rather thick, so it is likely that fainter Orionids meteors will be washed out by the bright moonlight. Be aware that local conditions such as cloud cover, light pollution, and precipitation will also play a major role in the number of meteors you are likely to see.

How do I know the sky is dark enough to see meteors?

If you happen to live near a brightly lit city, if possible, we recommend that you drive away from the glow of city light. After you’ve escaped the glow of the city, find a dark, safe, and possibly isolated spot where oncoming vehicle headlights will not occasionally ruin your sensitive night vision. Look for state or city parks or other safe dark-sites.

Once you have settled down at your observation spot, look approximately half way up the sky facing southeast. This way you can have the Orionids’ radiant within your field of view. Looking directly up at the sky or into the radiant is not recommended since this is just the point in which they appear to come from. You are more likely to see a trail when looking slightly away from this point. Looking half-way up into the sky will lead to the best show in the house!

Spacedex wishes you and yours a magnificent viewing experience tonight!


Moon forecast for October 21st

Last Quarter Moon. Orionids shower gazing conditions will not be favorable. The moonlight may interfere with viewing.


Orionids meteor shower fact file

First apeared: 1800's

Name origin: Appears to radiate from the constellation Orion.

Parent: Halley's Comet

Active start date: October 2nd

Peak date: October 20th, 21st

ZHR/Rate on peak: 15-20 per hour

Active end date: November 7th


Videos of past Orionids showers

Orionids 1
Orionids 2
Orionids 3


Data in visuals



Viewing locations and times to view the Orionids meteor shower

Africa Asia Australia South America
& The Caribbean
View Africa Countries View Asian Countries Australian Cities South American Counties


Albania Andorra Austria Belarus

Belgium Bosnia & Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia

Czech Republic Cyprus Denmark Estonia

Finland France Germany Greece

Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy

Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg

Malta Monaco Netherlands Norway

Poland Portugal Romania Russia

San Marino Serbia Scotland Slovakia

Slovenia Sweden Switzerland Spain

Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom Vatican City



North America - Mexico & United States

Mexico Alabama Alaska Arizona

Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut

Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii

Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa

Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine

Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota

Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska

Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico

New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio

Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island

South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas

Utah Vermont Virginia Washington

West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming  

North America - Canada

Alberta British Columbia Ontario Québec

Saskatchenwan Manitoba Nova Scotia New Brunswick

Newfoundland Nunavut Prince Edward Island Yukon



Central America

Belize Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala

Honduras Nicaragua Panama  


Having trouble finding a location? Search here:


Meteor Shower Tip

Try not to look directly up into the skies of the world. Instead, look half-way up into the sky for the best view!

Orionids Fun Fact

Orionids are among the fastest-moving meteors. These meteors typically strike our atmosphere while traveling at speeds of 66 km/s (about 148,000 mph).

Orionids Tip

Keep in mind that any local light pollution or obstructions like tall trees or buildings will reduce your making a meteor sighting. Give your eyes time to dark-adapt before starting.

Your name in the stars

Guide to photographing meteor showers

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