Orionids Meteor Shower Set To Thrill.
The Orionids are an unusual shower in many ways, and it’s watchable – best, in fact, in 2012 – in the early morning hours from October 8 it might produce some good size meteors.
Time to look up, meteor fans! Like most meteor showers, this one is better after midnight – no matter where you are on the globe keep looking throughout the month. There is a waxing crescent moon on October 20. That means a dark sky between midnight and dawn, or during the best viewing hours for the meteor shower.
To prime you for it, on a dark, moonless night the upcoming Orionids exhibit a maximum of about 15 meteors per hour. These fast-moving meteors occasionally leave persistent trains and bright fireballs. If you trace these meteors backward, they seem to come from the Club of the famous constellation Orion the Hunter. You might know Orion’s bright, ruddy star Betelgeuse.
Right now, radars in Canada are reporting a major outburst of another shower, the Draconid meteors commencing at 16 UT on Oct. 8th. “Radar rates are at 1000 meteors per hour,” says Bill Cooke of NASA’ Meteoroid Environment Office. “This is greater than last year’s outburst, and 5x the 2005 level.”
Cooke encourages northern sky watchers, especially in Europe where night is falling, to be alert for Draconid activity. Because radars are sensitive to very small meteoroids, there is no guarantee that this radar outburst will translate into meteors visible to the human eye. On the other hand, a brilliant display could be in progress. The only way to know is to go outside and look. Check http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates. Source EarthandSky