When Is The Orionid Meteor Shower 2024?

Love shooting stars? Then you’ll love the Orionid Meteor Shower 2024. We explain everything you need to know! Have questions? Let us know in the comments below!

What Are the Orionids?

The Orionid Meteor Shower, the second meteor shower of October, peaks during the early morning hours of October 21-22 each year. Why are they called the Orionids? Because the meteors seem to emerge or radiate from the constellation Orion, near the Orion-Gemini border in Orion’s upraised club.

This annual meteor shower is caused by debris from the famous Halley’s Comet. (The comet last visited Earth in 1986 and will return next in 2061). Each time that famous comet passed around the Sun, it would leave in its wake a trail of cosmic dust and grit along its orbit. Our Earth passes closest to Halley’s orbit every mid-to-late October, and in the process, encounters this comet debris. The particles ram into our atmosphere at speeds in excess of 40 miles per second, and thanks to friction, they are raised to white heat in the span of a heartbeat, creating the effect of a “shooting star” in our sky.

When To View The Orionids

The Orionid Meteor Shower will be visible generally from mid-October until the end of the month, with the highest period of activity on October 21-22. These meteors may be seen with the naked eye. The best time to observe any meteor shower is during the early morning hours, before sunrise. The numbers of meteors tend to increase until morning twilight interferes. Generally, observers can expect to see anywhere from 10 to more than 30 meteors per hour.

An observer who plots these meteors on a star chart will notice that they seem to radiate or spray outward from northeastern Orion, between Betelgeuse and Gamma (γ) Geminorum, also known as Alhena. This region of the sky will be about two-thirds up from the southern horizon when morning twilight begins.

Details Of The Orionid Meteor Shower 2024

The Orionids should reach its peak in the early morning hours of October 20, 2024, producing about 25 swift, relatively faint meteors per hour (if your sky is completely dark). These meteors appear to dart from a region of the sky just north of the ruddy star Betelgeuse in Orion, which stands high in the south at the break of dawn. The shower may be active for more than a week before or after its broad maximum, which itself can actually last from October 20-25. 

These Orionids will fall under a waning gibbous moon on October 20, so the sky will be brighter, making the shower a little more difficult to see.

Do All Comets Produce Meteor Showers?

All comets shed dust in their wake. Some comets are dustier than others. However, for a comet to produce a meteor shower, its orbit must cross/intersect our orbit in order for us to encounter/interact with that dusty debris to produce meteors. In 2020, Comet SWAN did not cross Earth’s orbit, so it did not produce meteors.

We intersect the orbit of Halley’s Comet twice. Once in early May (creating the Eta Aquarids) and again in late October (creating the Orionids).

A fresh/new trail of dust that has been recently shed by a comet might produce a meteor shower lasting only a few hours. On the other hand, a comet that has circled the Sun numerous times and has shed many different dust trails may produce a meteor shower that can last several days, or even weeks.

Encke’s Comet, which takes only 3.3 years to circle the Sun, has probably been shedding debris for many hundreds or thousands of years and its associated shower (the Taurids) takes Earth many weeks to go through.

Join The Discussion

Have you ever seen a shooting star in the Orionid Meteor Shower?

Share you experience (and photos!) with your community here in the comments below.

Meteor Shower Calendar — Plan ahead!

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Joe Rao is an expert astronomer.
Joe Rao

Joe Rao is an esteemed astronomer who writes for Space.com, Sky & Telescope, and Natural History Magazine. Mr. Rao is a regular contributor to the Farmers' Almanac and serves as an associate lecturer for the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

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Susan Saylor

SE Michigan. Excellent viewing conditions tonight. Can’t wait.

John Dlugos

LOL so many people asking what time can they see this. Does anybody read?

cloudy in Pa . rain in forcast. darn

Cloudy in Pa, rain forcasted. Sigh

Barbiejorr

Tablets I use Samsung take great pics

donald

LOOK UP IN THE SKIES, IN THE (ORION ) LOOK FOR STARS IN A ROW, THE ODD STAR ORANGE IN THE RIGEL THE HUNTER/ THE HUNTERI THE (ORION.) YOU WILL SEE – METEOR SHOWERS- BRIGHT STARS INTER- EARTH -LINING ON FIRE..

Rosalind baldwin

Disappointed did not see anything last night and I watch for hours from midnight till about 5am. Will it be better tinkghtf

Kat

Do people not read???????
“The best time to observe any meteor shower is during the early morning hours, between midnight and 5:00 a.m., regardless of your time zone”

Kim Bailey

So happy ?just saw this post. Will we see this in Tujunga, CA

Rebecca

Henry Molina…I live in Tempe AZ… With the cloud cover and possible rain, I don’t think you are going to see anything …so, so sorry.

Henry Molina

I live in Arizona whats a good area in the sky for them.

Maile Consolacion

Will we be able to see it in Hillsboro Oregon and what time is the best time to see it?

karrie

I live in Jamestown by what time is a good time to watch it

Brandee Frasure

I live in the Northwest Arkansas area, and was wondering what would be the best time for us to try to catch the meteor showers?
Thank you for your time!

Brandee Frasure

I live in the Northwest Arkansas area, when would be the best time to see the meteor showers?
Thank you for your time!

Kimberly

My husband & I will b watching tinite. Thanks for the info. Wish we were at my mom’s place on the lake to get a better show but will enjoy it in our new home anyway

Christine Wartena

I cant wait for this to take place this is going to be EPIC!
I am going to watch this out on the dessert where there isn’t any other light exposure anywhere. Thank you so much for sharing this information.I CANT WAIT

Toni Catoe

The Folly Beach calendar photo search for 2017 is beginning ! If you have any photos you would like to be considered for the 2017 calendar, please submit to [email protected]. All submissions will be put in a folder and be considered for the calendar when the calendar committee begins it’s work next year. Photographers will be notified if their photo is selected. Toni Catoe (843)588-2055.

Sara

Is this anywhere in North America?

Terry Johnson

Thank you for the info. Love watching the moons, stars and anything astrological.

Rich Brown

Saw two large contrails in the SE sky today (I am in Baltimore). I wonder if those had to do with this?

Celina

I live in Pasadena tx; from what point will the comets come out of— South, East, North, West ????

jennifer

My daughter was named after halleys commet

Robyn

Hope you don’t have to work that day

Peggie

Joe, are you saying that those with Android phones can get good pictures?

Shirlee Mapes

AWESOME!!!

Joe

This sounds like something Android fans can enjoy. iPhone users sit aside

jennifer

A meteor shower for my b birthday!! Yay 🙂

Dr. Allan K. Warner

Keep up the good work!

Susan Higgins

Thank you, Dr. Warner! We appreciate the feedback!

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