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2015 Orionid meteor shower

In 2015, 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 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

A first quarter Moon will make it easy for Northern and Southern Hemisphere observers to view the shower.

Two meteor showers in October

Orionids tend to be active every year in the month of October, usually peaking around October 20. At its peak, people can view about 20 meteors an hour.

The Draconids also occur in October, usually peaking around October 7 - 8.

Halley's comet

The Orionid meteor shower is one of the two meteor showers associated with the Comet Halley. It is called Orionids because the meteors seem to emerge or radiate from the constellation Orion.

The Eta Aquarids in May is the second meteor shower created by the 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 to view the Orionids

The Orionids can be seen by viewers from both hemispheres.

While it is not necessary to look in a particular direction to enjoy a meteor shower – just lay down on the ground and look directly above and you are bound to see some meteors – astronomers suggest that observers in the Northern Hemisphere look towards the southeastern sky, while those in the Southern Hemisphere look at the northeastern sky.

When to view the Orionids

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

Sunrise and sunset timings for your city

Location in the sky

The Orionid meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Oct 20, 2015, table below is for that date:
Orionid meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between Oct 20 and Oct 21)
Tue 11:00 PM73°East-northeast3.2°
Midnight Tue-Wed82°East14.4°
Wed 1:00 AM91°East26.1°
Wed 2:00 AM102°East-southeast37.7°
Wed 3:00 AM115°East-southeast48.8°
Wed 4:00 AM133°Southeast58.5°
Wed 5:00 AM161°South-southeast65.0°
Wed 6:00 AM196°South-southwest65.4°
Note: times are for Oct 20, 2015.
Set your location

How to view the Orionids

There isn’t a lot of skill involved in watching a meteor shower. Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for the Orionids:

  • Get out of the city to a place where city and artificial lights do not impede your viewing
  • If you are out viewing the shower during its peak, you will not need any special equipment. You should be able to see the shower with your naked eyes.
  • Carry a blanket or a comfortable chair with you - viewing meteors, just like any other kind of star gazing is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable. Plus, you may not want to leave until you can’t see the majestic celestial fireworks anymore.
  • Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.

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

In this Article


All about meteor showers

  1. A handy guide to meteor showers
  2. April 2015: Lyrids
  3. May 2015: Eta Aquarids
  4. August 2015: Perseids
  5. October 2015: Draconids
  6. October 2015: Orionids
  7. November 2015: Leonids
  8. December 2015: Geminids
  9. December 2015: Ursids
  10. January 2016: Quadrantids

More meteor showers

Moonrise & Moonset times

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