Sunday, October 20, 2013
Orionid Meteor Shower 22 October 2013
The Orionids are normally a worthwhile shower, best seen between 2-4 am, the radiant being just under Betelgueuse, the bright red star in Orion.
This year the just past Full Moon's light will significantly lower rates. The best viewing is the morning of the 22nd, when between 3-5 am under dark skies you should see about a meteor every 5-10 minutes.
You can find out the preidcted rates for your location using the NASA meteor flux estimator (use 8 Orionids and make sure you set the dates to 21-22 October 2013).
If you decide to get up, despite the Moon contaminated skies, allow at least 5 minutes for your eyes to adjust, and be patient, it may be several minutes before you are rewarded with you first meteor, then a couple will come along in quick succession.
Choose a viewing spot where you can see a large swathe of sky without trees or buildings getting in the way, or with streetlights getting in your eyes. The darker the spot the better (but do be sensible, don't choose a spot in an unsalubrious park for example). It will be difficult but try and block the Moon with a post or wall so it doesn't interfere with your viewing too much.
A lawn chair or something similar will make your observing comfortable (or a picnic rug spread on the ground and a nice pillow), and having a Thermos of hot coffee, tea or chocolate to swig while watching will increase your comfort. (Here's some hints on dark adaption of your eyes so you can see meteors better).
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