The Orionid Meteors put on a Show


October 21st, 2015

The Orionid meteor shower peaks tonight (lower center of image above) but two weaker showers are also ongoing. The Epsilon Geminids (lower left) began on the 14th but only have a maximum hourly rate of three. Similarly, the Northern Taurids (top right corner) began on the 20th but only have a maximum hourly rate of five.

In comparison, the Orionids, which began on the 2nd, have a respectable hourly rate of about 25. Your chances of catching a few will be best during the early hours of the morning, for two reasons. Firstly, as is nearly always the case, you’re more likely to see the meteors at this time because you’re on the side of the Earth that’s moving directly into the shower.

Secondly, given that the Moon has also just turned first quarter, it will be above the horizon during the evening and its light may cause the fainter meteors to be lost against the slightly brightened sky. Waiting until the early hours will allow the Moon time to set and for the sky to darken. The image above depicts the sky at about 1:00 a.m.

Good luck!



All Astronomical Events for October 21st, 2015

05:03 UT – The just-past first quarter Moon passes dwarf planet Ceres. (Ceres: magnitude 8.4. Sagittarius, evening sky.)

The Orionid meteor shower peaks. A maximum zenith hourly rate: 25. (Moon: just past full. Naked eye, Orion, all night but best in the pre-dawn sky. See details above.)

The planetary nebula M76, the Little Dumbbell Nebula, culminates at midnight tonight. (Magnitude 10.1. Perseus, all night.)



Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.

All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.

Astronomical events taken from 2015: An Astronomical Year, available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. Night sky simulations created using Mobile Observatory for Android devices.

2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle Edition) 2016 An Astronomical Year Paperback Cover 2016 The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac 2015-2019 Kindle Cover - Deep Sky Observer's Guide

2015: An Astronomical Year

2016: An Astronomical Year 2016: The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) The Deep Sky Observer’s Guide

(Kindle & Paperback)

(Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback)


Amazon – US

Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US
Amazon – UK Amazon – UK  Amazon – UK Amazon – UK

Amazon – UK

Details of all available books across the world can be found here or by visiting the author’s page on Amazon. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at”


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