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2016 Orionid Meteor Shower

In 2016, the Orionid meteor shower will be visible from October 2 to November 7. The shower is expected to peak on the night of October 20 and early morning of October 21.

Illustration image

Halley's comet causes the Orionid meteor shower

Debris from Halley's comet (pictured above) causes the annual Orionid metoer shower.

NASA/ESA/Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research

When Can I See the Orionids?

Orionids tend to be active every year in the month of October, usually peaking around October 20. At its peak, up to 20 meteors are visible every hour.

The best time to view the Orionids is just after midnight and right before dawn.

The Draconids also peak in October, usually around Oct 7 or 8.

Dust From Halley's Comet

The Orionid meteor shower is one of two meteor showers created by debris from Comet Halley. The Eta Aquarids in May is the second meteor shower created by debris left by Comet Halley.

Halley takes around 76 years to make a complete revolution around the Sun. It will next be visible from Earth in 2061.

Where Can I See the Orionids?

It's called Orionids because the meteors seem to emerge or radiate from the constellation Orion.

A First Quarter Moon will make this meteor shower easy to see in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. While you can easily see a shooting star looking straight up, the table below shows the exact direction of the Orionids from your location.

Location in the Sky

The Orionid meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Oct 20, 2017; the table below is for that date:
Orionid meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between Oct 20 and Oct 21)
TimeAzimuth/DirectionAltitude
Fri 11:00 pm73°East-northeast3.3°
Sat 12:00 midnight82°East14.6°
Sat 1:00 am92°East26.2°
Sat 2:00 am102°East-southeast37.8°
Sat 3:00 am115°East-southeast48.9°
Sat 4:00 am133°Southeast58.7°
Sat 5:00 am161°South-southeast65.1°
Sat 6:00 am196°South-southwest65.3°
Note: times are for Oct 20, 2017.
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How to Watch Meteor Showers

  • Check the weather: Meteors, or shooting stars, are easy to spot, all you need is clear skies and a pair of eyes.
  • Get out of town: Find a place as far away as possible from artificial lights
  • Prepare to wait: Bring something to sit or lie down on. Star gazing is a waiting game, so get comfortable.

Topics: Astronomy, Meteors, Comets, October, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere

In This Article

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Meteor Showers Library

  1. October 2016: Orionids
  2. November 2016: Leonids
  3. December 2016: Geminids
  4. December 2016: Ursids
  5. January 2017: Quadrantids
  6. April 2017: Lyrids
  7. May 2017: Eta Aquarids
  8. August 2017: Perseids
  9. October 2017: Draconids

What is a Meteor Shower?

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