The Orionid Meteor Shower 2019 Peaks Soon: Here's What to Expect | 10/21/2017 | Joe Rao
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The constellation Orion the Hunter takes center stage in this Orionid meteor shower image by astrophotographer Gowrishankar Lakshminarayanan. He captured these Orionid meteors streaking through the sky over New York's Catskill Mountains on Oct. 21, 2017.

Next to the Geminids of December and the Perseids of August, the most reliable of the annual displays of "shooting stars" are the October Orionids. Unfortunately, this year, the Orionids are going to face a handicap. When the Orionid meteors reach their peak on Tuesday morning (Oct. 22), the moon — just past last quarter — will also be in the after-midnight sky. Hence, its glare will somewhat hamper observations in 2019.

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The Orionid meteor shower normally last from about Oct. 16 to 26. A few swift Orionids may appear as early as the start of October and a lingering straggler or two as late as Nov. 7. The numbers seen by any one observer tend to reach a maximum of about 20 per hour when conditions are clear and dark and the shower's emanation point (called the "radiant"), which lies near the border of the constellations Orion and Gemini, is well up in the sky.

These meteors are known as "Orionids" because the meteors seem to fan out from a region to the north of Orion's second brightest star, the ruddy hued Betelgeuse.

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Related: Orionid Meteor Shower 2019: When, Where & How to See It

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Currently, the Orion constellation appears ahead of us in our journey around the sun, and has not completely risen above the eastern horizon until after 11:30 p.m. local daylight time. These meteors are at their best during the predawn hours at around 5 a.m. — Orion will then be highest in the sky toward the south. Since Orion's famous three-star belt straddles the celestial...
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