The Orionid meteor shower that peppers Earth's atmosphere with fragments of Halley's Comet is happening again. It's not as fantastic or meteor-rich this year as it has been before, but that doesn't mean you can't stick your head out the window come Saturday evening and see the night sky lit up with flashes. Here's how to watch.
The Orionid meteor shower runs from early October to the middle of November, but in 2017 it peaks over the weekend on October 22 in the very early hours of the morning — around 2-5AM AEDT. That's an early hour to be waking up and heading outside, but you'll be rewarded with a peak shower density of around 20-30 meteors per hour. That is: brave the chill for a couple of minutes and you should see something.
That's a far cry from the up to 80 per hour we've seen in the past, but hey, meteor shower. The Orionids are visible from most places around the planet, so that means anyone in Australia up at the right time and in the right conditions should be able to take a look.
It's a new moon, too, so there won't be a lot of lunar light — which means better star and meteor viewing. (As long as the rain clears up for Sydneysiders and Canberrans, at least...) If you want to know where to look, you'll see most meteor hits clustered off to the north of Orion's Sword.
Astroblog's top tip: wait at least a couple of minutes for your eyes to adjust. "If you decide to get up, allow at least 5 minutes for your eyes to adjust, and be patient, it may be several minutes before you are rewarded with you first meteor, then a couple will come along in quick succession."