In 2018, the Orionid meteor shower will be visible from October 2 to November 7. The shower is expected to peak on the night of October 21 and early morning of October 22 this year.
When Can I See the Orionids?
Orionids tend to be active every year in the month of October, usually peaking around October 20/21. 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 1 of 2 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.
What Time Does the Meteor Shower Peak?
The table is updated daily and shows the position of the Orionids radiant in the sky for the upcoming night. Use the date drop down above the Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map to change dates.
|Orionids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between October 21 and October 22)|
|Sun 11:00 pm||73°||4.3°|
|Mon 12:00 midnight||82°||15.6°|
|Mon 1:00 am||91°||27.3°|
|Mon 2:00 am||102°||38.8°|
|Mon 3:00 am||115°||49.9°|
|Mon 4:00 am||134°||59.6°|
|Mon 5:00 am||162°||65.9°|
|Mon 6:00 am||198°||65.8°|
|Mon 7:00 am||227°||59.5°|
Direction to see the Orionids in the sky:
- Azimuth is the direction, based on true north; a compass might show a slightly different value.
- Altitude is height in degrees over horizon.
How to See the Orionids
You don't need any special equipment or a lot of skills to view a meteor shower. Even though all you really need is a clear sky, lots of patience, and our handy Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map with a visibility conditions meter to see a meteor shower, the following tips can help maximize your shooting star viewing experience.
- Find a secluded viewing spot, away from the city lights. Once at the venue, your eyes may take 15 to 20 minutes to get used to the dark.
- Dress for the weather, and make sure you are comfortable, especially if you plan to stay out long. Bring a blanket or a comfortable chair with you—meteor watching can be a waiting game.
- Once you have found your viewing spot, lie down on the ground and look up in the direction of the radiant. Use our Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map or the table above to find the current direction of the radiant in the sky.