How to view the Orionid meteor shower

Posted by Leila Stein on 14 October 2019

Avid skywatchers can catch the Orionid meteor shower at the end of this month.

These leftover bits of Halley’s comet come into view from the Earth once a year. The best viewing days this year will be between the 22 and 23 October. This is one of the fastest meteor showers with some years peaking at 80 meteros an hour while others are just 20 or 30, according to

The first report of an Orionid sighting was in 1839 in the United States, this despite the fact that their mother comet, Halley, has been noted in the sky from as early as 240 B.C.

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How to view the meteors

The Orionids are named after the direction from which they appear to come from, which is near the constellation Orion (The Hunter). Those looking out for this spectacular show need to look for the shape of Orion in the sky. The meteors look like they originate from near his sword. It is not advised to look directly at this point as the meteors trails grow longer the faster they move away from this ‘origin.’

They are visible from anywhere on Earth, so South Africans will be able to see them if they go to an area with little light pollution. There is some risk that the moon will also be too bright this year. recommends going out early in the morning (around 1:30am) when the moon is not at it’s peak. It is meant to last till sunrise so there will be no shortage of opportunity to view this incredible sight.

Image: Jeff Sullivan/Flickr


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