Calling all meteor enthusiasts! Worried you missed out on one of the year's meteor showers yesterday because of a rain out? Don't fret!
According to a NASA scientist, Bill Cooke, we have another night or two (at least) to catch these bright and fast lights streaking across the night sky. Cooke says the Orionids tend to have a double peak. Which may be why I found conflicting information about which night was the peak (last night or tonight).
Fast Facts About Orionids:
Comet of Origin: 1P/Halley
Radiant: Just to the north of constellation Orion's bright star Betelgeuse
Active: Oct. 4-Nov. 14, 2016
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 20 meteors per hour
Meteor Velocity: 41 miles (66 kilometers) per second
Notes: The Orionids, formed from the debris of Halley's comet, are known for being bright and quick.
Meteors are tiny space debris burning up as they hit Earth's atmosphere. For the Orionids, the debris are particles left behind by Halley's Comet, which last was in our cosmic neighborhood in 1986. Halley's Comet left behind the debris responsible for the Orionids. The Earth runs into the cloud of debris in October and November, resulting in the Orionid showers. Learn more about what causes meteor showers here.
How to Watch the Show:
The Moon today is in a Waning Gibbous Phase meaning the moon is more than half illuminated and the moon is not the meteor watcher's friend. Light reflecting off a bright moon can be just as detrimental to good meteor viewing as those bright lights of the big city. So the moon may impact how many meteors you are able to see.
The best thing you can do to maximize the number of meteors you'll see is to get as far away from urban light pollution as possible and find a location with a clear, unclouded view of the night sky. If you enjoy camping, try planning a trip that coincides with dates of one of the meteor showers listed below. Once you get to your viewing location, search for the darkest patch of sky you can find, as meteors can appear anywhere overhead.
The meteors will always travel in a path away from the constellation for which the shower is named. For example, meteors during this shower will appear to originate from the constellation Orion. (Note: the constellation only serves as a helpful guide in the night's sky. The constellation is not the actual source of the meteors.) So tonight, you will want to look to the south in order to catch the Orionids.
No matter where you are trying to watch the meteors you also want to dress for success! This means clothing appropriate for chilly overnight temperatures! This will enable you to settle in without having to abandon the meteor-watching because your fingers are starting to turn blue. Tonight may be the first time we get some frost in Kentuckiana! Metro will stay in the low 40s, but some of our low lying areas will get to the mid 30s. Clouds are slowly clearly from west to east today. So the coldest areas will be west of I-65. A few lingering clouds will be around. It could impact the view a bit.
A Few More Tips:
Bring something comfortable on which to sit or lie down. It can take a while to see anything so plan to be patient and watch for at least half an hour. A reclining chair or ground pad will make it far more comfortable to keep your gaze on the night sky.
Lastly, put away the telescope or binoculars. Using either reduces the amount of sky you can see at one time, lowering the odds that you'll see anything but darkness. Instead, let your eyes hang loose and don't look in any one specific spot. Avoid looking at your cell phone or any other light. Both destroy night vision!
If you catch any meteors on film-- you know what to do! Share them on social media with the whole WDRB Weather Team! The links to my pages are below!