Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Orionids Meteor Showers

I was outside last night taking Gracie for a late night pee break around about 3. I was headed back inside when I happened to look up. What caught my attention was I noticed the Big Dipper was in a different place from where it had resided all summer long. All of sudden I saw a bright light streak through the northern night sky. Was it a meteor I asked myself? Or, was I just imagining it? I was doing some quick thinking trying to remember if this time of year had meteor showers. And, then I saw another one. All within the space of less than a minute. WOO HOO! Now I was sure I had seen a couple of meteors. Then it was bang.... a twosome again. And, another and another in quick succession. I was thinking to myself, I have got to go in and look to see what these meteors were all about. Here's what I found out...

Meteor Showers Meteor Shower

The Orionids Meteor Shower has been occurring each year consistently in October. Every year the dust particles and debris of Halley’s Comet enter the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of 90,000+ miles per hour. Even though Halley’s Comet is in orbit around the Sun and was closest to Earth in 1986 on its 75-76 year orbit the remnants still remain in its path. The Earth crosses through this dusty path each year and this trail of debris consistently produces the Orionids Meteor Shower.
Orionids Meteor Shower

Orionids Meteor Shower Radiant

The Orionids Meteor Shower has already started to produce activity in the morning skies around the northern hemisphere. It started October 2nd and will be active until early November. The Orionids has a few days before and after the peak that are more active than other days. This is a unique feature called a “submaxima”. Viewers can anticipate the strongest activity to take place in the morning of October 21st, but the period of days that lead up to the peak and after the peak called “submaxima activity” means that strong outbursts may occur between October 18th and October 24th at any time.

So who would have guessed it that I would be outside on the night before the strongest activity of the Orionids Meteor Shower? If it's a clear night... go outside and watch the showers. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the show.

As Jack Herkimer (of the Miami Planetarium) was fond of saying as he closed his show... "KEEP LOOKING UP! "

1 comment:

Cartoon Characters said...

so cool! I am hoping it will be clear tonite. I want to see the "tail end"! I remember seeing the song about it (it's in one of my of the ones about my grandmother)

Little old me...

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