Monday evening, October 21st, and Tuesday morning, October 22nd, will be the best time to watch the Orionid meteor shower, one of the year’s best meteor showers.
Up to two dozen meteors per hour might be seen between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. or so— provided you can keep the 40%-lit waning crescent moon out of your field of view.
When to Watch:
10:16 p.m. Monday, October 21 through 12:19 a.m. Tuesday, October 22 (radiant rise in the ENE to moonrise)*
12:19 a.m. through 5:47 a.m. Tuesday, October 22 (moonlight will interfere; radiant will be highest in the sky at 5:18 a.m., and morning twilight begins at 5:47 a.m.)
Where to Be: In a rural area with no terrestrial lights visible that are brighter than the brightest star. Preferably no light domes (uncivil twilight) of cities or towns should be visible in the direction you will be looking.
What to Do: Dress for a temperature 20° F cooler than the actual air temperature. Bring a lawn chair and a warm sleeping bag or blankets. Try blocking the Moon with a building, hill, or trees— or use a strategically-placed black umbrella.
Where to Look: Generally look towards the radiant which is between Betelgeuse and the “feet” of Gemini.
What You’ll See: Fast meteors, many leaving persistent trains.
Meteor showers occur each year when the Earth in her orbit intersects the debris trail of a comet, and the comet that causes the Orionids is very famous, indeed. Halley’s Comet!
* Times listed are for Dodgeville, Wisconsin