Orionid Meteor Shower - October 2013

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  • Member since
    May, 2005
Orionid Meteor Shower - October 2013
Posted by Centaur on Sunday, October 13, 2013 1:50 PM
The annual Orionid meteor shower should be commencing in a few days and is expected to peak during the early morning of October 21. The meteors are remnants of Comet Halley.
 
The radiant (the point to which the meteor tails point) is between the constellations of Orion and Gemini. However, the meteors are equally likely to be seen anywhere in the sky. The best viewing is between local midnight and dawn. 
 
At its peak the shower averages about one meteor per minute for sharp eyed observers. However a waning gibbous Moon this year will provide some interference. Descriptions of the shower would be welcome additions to this thread. 
 
I’ve created a timetable of major meteor showers during this decade. It includes Moon illumination information. It can be seen at: www.CurtRenz.com/asteroids

For astronomical graphics, including monthly wallpaper calendar, visit:

www.CurtRenz.com/astronomical


  • Member since
    April, 2012
  • From: North Carolina east coast USA
Posted by stepping beyond on Sunday, October 13, 2013 3:59 PM

Thank you Curt, I enjoy the meteor showers there so cool. I 've s. I look forward to seeing some awesome  meteors in my nights of viewing the showers.

  • Member since
    July, 2011
Posted by Darren in Tacoma on Sunday, October 13, 2013 11:03 PM

A couple of days ago, before I left for work, I was admiring Jupiter, the Pleides and Orions best binocular features when I saw one nice meteor go shooting past. Great way to start the day, I thought.

If the skies are clear I will sit outside and have my morning coffee, hoping to witness a few more.

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  • Member since
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  • From: PA, USA, Earth Moderator
Posted by DaveMitsky on Monday, October 14, 2013 12:53 AM

Curt,

Is there some reason to believe that this year's Orionids will have an enhanced peak rate? The Orionids are not a major shower and have a typical peak ZHR (zenithal hourly rate) of 20 to 25, not 60, per hour. Bright moonlight this year will reduce the ZHR considerably.

http://earthsky.org/tonight/radiant-point-for-orionid-meteor-shower

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

  • Member since
    May, 2005
Posted by Centaur on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 10:58 AM

DaveMitsky

Curt,

Is there some reason to believe that this year's Orionids will have an enhanced peak rate? The Orionids are not a major shower and have a typical peak ZHR (zenithal hourly rate) of 20 to 25, not 60, per hour. Bright moonlight this year will reduce the ZHR considerably.

http://earthsky.org/tonight/radiant-point-for-orionid-meteor-shower

Dave Mitsky

 

 

Wikipedia says 50-70 per hour in some years. In 2007 it was 70. In 2012 it was 43. My writing a peak average of one per minute gives a rough idea. I did mention the Moon interference this year. I suspect that most readers appreciate the heads up and tend not to get picky. Nevertheless, Dave, thank you for your added commentary.

For astronomical graphics, including monthly wallpaper calendar, visit:

www.CurtRenz.com/astronomical


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  • Member since
    July, 2001
  • From: PA, USA, Earth Moderator
Posted by DaveMitsky on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 3:36 PM

Curt,

The Orionids can be variable* but I’ve seen nothing suggesting a higher than average ZHR for this year’s Orionids.  In fact, the shower is not even mentioned in the October issue of Sky & Telescope or on the International Meteor Organization’s 2013 shower calendar.

A disappointing quarter ends the year, with all the stronger annual showers troubled by bright moonlight for their maxima.

Astronomy Magazine downplays the 2013 Orionids on page 37 of the October issue.

Even a waning crescent Moon can reduce the count by a fair amount.

http://www.astronomy.com/news/2011/10/hunting-orionid-meteors (2011)

The Moon will be over 90% full and just west of Orion at the peak of the shower.

http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors

The next meteor shower is the Orionids on the night of October 21

The gibbous Moon, which is about 90 percent full on the night of the 21st, rises by mid-evening and soars high across the sky during the night. Its light will overpower all but the brightest of the meteors.

Keep in mind that the Orionids typically produce higher rates in the southern hemisphere.

http://meteorshowersonline.com/major_meteor_showers.html

Following mid-October, things begin picking up for people awake a few hours before sunrise as the Orionid meteor shower kicks in. Peaking on the night of October 21/22, this is another meteor shower that is produced by very old particles shed by Halley's Comet. Visual rates can reach 20 per hour for Northern Hemisphere observers and 40 per hour for Southern Hemisphere observers.

Regarding the ZHR:

http://www.meteorobs.org/bagnall/define.htm

Z.H.R. (Zenithal Hourly Rate): Are you paying attention? Good, 'coz this is where the science begins. The Zenithal Hourly Rate is the number of meteors you would expect to see at the time of maximum if the radiant was directly overhead and the observing conditions were perfect with a naked eye limiting magnitude of +6.5 - or at least that's the theory. In fact, even when these perfect conditions are met, the actual number of meteors an observer sees is usually at odds with the theoretical figure. So why do we use it? Beats me! Probably because everyone else uses it. If nothing else, it's a rough guide to how active a shower is. The higher the ZHR, the more chances you have of seeing a meteor

The RASC Observer's Handbook 2013 states a ZHR of 20 per hour for the 2013 Orionids on page 254.

Here’s the International Meteor Organization’s report on the 2011 Orionids:

http://www.popastro.com/meteor/reports/report.php?id_secRep=108

The latest IMO video meteor analysis of the shower in 2011 (given as part of the October review in the February 2012 issue of the journal "WGN", 40:1, pp. 41-47, especially pp. 43 & 46) indicated the video peak was observed on the European night of October 23-24, although activity then was only marginally better than on several previous nights, beginning around October 20-21. This sort of protracted, if variable, maximum is relatively common for the Orionids, albeit the stronger peak happening as late as October 23-24 is unusual. The Organization's preliminary visual data, now updated but still available online at the address given in my October 24 posting above, suggested shower ZHRs were averaging roughly 25 ± 5 between October 20-21 and 23-24, coincident with the video findings, although the marginally highest ZHR, circa 33 ± 3 had occurred on October 21-22. This was based on relatively few reports, however.

http://www.astronomy-world.com/2013-sky-events.html (2013 ZHR = 20 per hour but does not mention how bright the Moon will be, unfortunately)

http://www.lovebigisland.com/hawaii-blog/hawaii-2013-astronomy-calendar/#orionids (effects of moonlight on this year’s Orionids)

Speaking for myself, I’ve never observed a rate beginning to approach 60 Orionids per hour during any of the times I’ve observed the Orionids from dark sites under favorable conditions.

* The showers from 2006 to 2009 produced higher than predicted rates.

Dave Mitsky 

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

  • Member since
    May, 2005
Posted by Centaur on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 12:37 PM

I hope you've been watching the Orionids and some of its surprising fireballs. Here's a link to an article with a marvelous photo and a video titled "Orionid Meteor Shower Exceeds All Expections": http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/21/orionid-meteor-shower-fireballs-video_n_4138498.html 

The shower might continue for a few more nights. The rate should be decreasing, but Moon interference will be lessening. 

For astronomical graphics, including monthly wallpaper calendar, visit:

www.CurtRenz.com/astronomical


  • Member since
    April, 2012
  • From: North Carolina east coast USA
Posted by stepping beyond on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 5:23 PM

Curt, I had one night of awesomely clear skies. I caught glimpses of several meteors before the moon was up but, wash out was evident here in North Carolina. Thanks for the info, it does really pay to belong to an Astronomy forum.

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