Favorable viewing conditions for annual Orionid meteor shower

Meteors will streak across the night sky (up to 25 per hour) from Saturday Night October 20th into the morning of October 21st during the annual Orionid meteor shower.

Up to 25 meteors per hour can be viewed this Saturday Night through the pre-dawn hours of Sunday morning as the annual Orionid meteor shower peaks. The Orionid shower results as the remnants of Haley’s comet, and returns each October to bring shooting stars to the night sky. However, each year is different and the viewing conditions can change dramatically. Last year, for instance, featured a very bright full moon which obscured most of the meteors aside from the brightest ones. This year will be a much better viewing year — with a dull moon and plenty of opportunity to view even the more faint meteors which will streak through the sky at the highest rates after midnight on Saturday Night/Sunday morning. The clear skies are expected to provide perfect outdoor viewing conditions as well. It is expected that up to 25 meteors per hour can be viewed with the meteor shower — not the most prolific amount, but decent.

Where are the best spots to view? Anywhere away from the bright lights of New York City. The city lights make it nearly impossible to view any but the brighest, biggest meteors. Head to the suburbs of Long Island, New Jersey, New York, or Connecticut. Even the immediate interior suburbs of Union, Essex, Bergen, Westchester/etc will do. If you’re looking for the most prolific show, head to the mountains of Northwest NJ or the far interior of Southeast New York. If you’re feeling really ambitious, head to New England for even better viewing.

What time is the best to see the most meteors? Any time after sunset on Saturday, technically. But the ideal time is between 11pm on Saturday night and 5am on Sunday morning. Not only will the moon be dull and the skies clear, but the actual meteor shower reaches peak intensity at that exact time. So you’ll be treated to the best show at that time.

We’ll be updating our Twitter account with more information on the meteor rates per hour during the event — and of course, send us your observations and pictures if you have them.