As much as we often forget, in the midst of all the bad in the world, our planet is pretty freakin' beautiful. Between natural phenomena, jaw-dropping scenery, and mind-blowing beauty, there are some things in life you just have to see. They're things like the Seven Wonders of the World, a stunning white sand beach, or even an eclipse. You're probably thinking, Hey! I saw the eclipse and, seriously, that's awesome (I didn't get to see it, so consider me jealous), but now you're really going to have to add one more thing to that list of things you have to see: the Orionid meteor shower. Lucky for you, these tips will make sure you know just how to see the Orionid meteor shower.
Let's start with the basics, first, though. After all, you're a meteor newbie, right? First: the name. The Orionid meteor shower got its name because the meteors in the shower come from around the constellation, Orion. Remember him? Orion is the constellation named after the greek hunter, and is often the most noticeable group of stars one can see.
So what will you see? If you've never seen a meteor shower, here's what to expect. The shower will consist of meteors traveling through the sky, sometimes leaving a little trail behind that looks like a line of light. They are usually very quick, so keep your eyes peeled.
I know what you're thinking: OK, how do I see it? Let's break it down. First of all, you're in luck: The shower is going to be strongest this month, particularly during the weekend of Oct. 20 through 21.
Not going to be able to catch the shower this year? No worries. The Orionid meteor shower happens yearly at this time. The best part is that you don't need any fancy gear to enjoy the show — no telescope, goggles, or glasses, and definitely no space hats — unless you really, really want to, I guess.
Grab a sleeping bag, some snacks, and be prepared to lay back and wait. You may be able to catch a few meteors earlier in the night, so if you're with kids, prepare yourselves. The best views are going to be after midnight, especially around 2 in the morning.
You're going to get the best show at this time, so maybe catch some Zs a little earlier in the day. The time of the moon cycle is a positive this time around; it's only a quarter moon, so it won't vastly affect your view. However it's especially important that you be sure to look for the shower in an area that is as dark as you can find it. Street lights, house lights, car headlights, and light from tall buildings will make it hard for you to be able to get a good look at the gorgeous show awaiting you.
So how long is this shower going to last? It's hard to say. Space.com is saying that the shower will, at most, be at 80 meteors an hour, but it's more likely that you're going to see somewhere between 20 and 30 meteors an hour. It can be seen up until Oct. 29, but your best shot at the greatest views and most meteors is going to be during that prime weekend on the 20 and 21.
If you live in an area that has a lot of bright lights and don't foresee yourself heading to the country to watch the shower, don't fret. Our good friends at NASA are coming through for us with a live stream that starts on Oct. 20. So kick back, relax, and get ready to be wowed.