Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Orionid Meteor Shower, Morning 21-23 October 2022
|Morning sky as seen from Darwin facing north at 5:05 am ADST on 23 October (90 minutes before sunrise), the Orionid radiant is indicated with a starburst. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at an equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.
|Morning sky as seen from Brisbane facing north at 3:43 am AEST on 23 October (90 minutes before sunrise), the Orionid radiant is indicated with a starburst. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at an equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.
|Morning sky as seen from Adelaide facing north at 4:54 am ACDST on 23 October (90 minutes before sunrise), the Orionid radiant is indicated with a starburst. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at an equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.
The Orionids are a worthwhile shower that somewhat favours the Southern Hemisphere,best seen between 2-5 am,
the radiant, the point where meteors appear to originate from, being just under Betelgeuse, the bright red star in Orion. The maps above show the views from Darin, Brisbane and Adelaide at astronomical twilight (90 minutes before sunrise). Similar views will be seen at the equivalent local time at similar latitudes (Adelaide stands in for Melbourne, Sydney and Perth)
If you draw an imaginary line between Procyon and Aldebaran, then drop
another imaginary line from Betelgeuse to the horizon, the radiant is
just next to the intersection of those two lines.
The Orionids are the debris from Halley's comet. The Orionids maximum is on October 21 UT (October 22 Australian time, but the best rates are predicted to be on the 23rd as the Moon wanes).
This year the waning/crescent Moon rises after the radiant rises so won't interfere with the shower too much.
You can find out the predicted rates for your location using the NASA meteor flux estimator (use 8 Orionids and make sure you set the dates to 21-22 October 2022).
You can follow the progress of the shower at the IMO Orionids live page.
If you decide to get up, 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 street-lights 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). Look to the north-east, and the distinctive red star Betelgeuse below the saucepan will be easy to spot with red Mars just below it. The meteors should originate just below here. However, let your eyes roam a bit to pick up meteors that begin their "burn" a fair distance from the radiant.
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).
The following table shows the predicted peak rates at around the peak maximum local time (roughly 2 hours before local sunrise on the mornings of the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of October for a number of cities under dark sky conditions (rates under suburban or city light conditions will be lower). Rates will be similar at the same latitude as these cities, and rates will be intermediate at spots between these cities.
|Morning October 21
|Morning October 22
|Morning October 23
Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.