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Thread: Orionids meteor shower peaks tonight

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    Default Orionids meteor shower peaks tonight

    Posted at 09:42 AM ET, 10/21/2011 Orionids meteor shower peaks tonight

    By Steve Tracton


    Fireball photographed during 2009 Orionids. ( NASA ) Skies early tomorrow morning (Saturday) before twilight should be clear and starry across the East Coast and large parts of the country, but showers are a virtual certainty. Still, early rises risers venturing outdoors can leave the umbrella behind. The showers of which I speak will be bright streaks in the sky associated with the peak of the Orionids meteor shower centered on the morning of October 22.



    The Orionids are one of the major shooting star displays each year. The name derives from the fact that meteor streaks appear to radiate from the just above the head of constellation Orion, the “Hunter” and not far (visually speaking) from its right shoulder marked by the bright red star, Betelgeuse.



    Brilliant multiple meteor streaks that can all be connected to a single point in the sky just above the belt of Orion, called the “radiant.” ( NASA ) The Orionids are associated with debris from Halley’s Comet. Interestingly, the small particles (meteoroids) being ejected from Halley’s Comet now are currently much too distant to be the source of the Orionids. Rather, the meteor streaks reflect the intersection of particle “filaments” drawn to Earth’s orbit by the gravitational attraction of Jupiter. This is a very slow process such that the Orionids for this and many more years reflect particles ejected from Halley’s Comet at least two thousand years ago.
    So far this has not been an especially great year for meteor showers.



    Typically the most prominent display of shooting stars is the Perseids in August. While several prominent streaks and a couple fireball s were observed last August, the Perseids were largely obscured by the light of a full moon. What might have been a spectacular meteor shower earlier this month, the Draconids , was not to be since the peak occurred during daylight hours over North America.



    During the Orionids peak tonight, a waning crescent moon will rise into the eastern sky about 2:20 AM (Saturday). The 25% or so illuminated portion if the Moon’s disk might interfere somewhat with the Orionids, but not come close to overpowering the potential for a great show – providing you can find a nearby viewing location removed from the majority of light pollution from cities, shopping centers, etc. (and, of course, clear skies).

    Via NASA: A map of the morning sky on Saturday, Oct. 22nd at 5:30 a.m. local time, viewed facing southeast ( NASA ) The maximum of the Orionids are likely between 3:00 AM and just before local sunrise (7:24 a.m. in the D.C. metro region). During this period the constellation Orion will be just about due south about halfway up the southern horizon. Meteoroids will streak and be visible in all directions away from the location in Orion they appear to radiate from, but best seen looking at the darkest portion of the sky, i.e., away from the moon and beginning hints of twilight near dawn.
    On average watchers should expect to see between 15 and 20 yellow and green fast moving meteoroid streaks across the sky per hour. However, in the past few years Orionids have been especially strong and bright and accompanied by breath taking fireballs that create persistent visible dust trails at high levels of the atmosphere. There is no way to know if this trend will continue through this year’s Orionids.



    As great as in might be to “sleep in” on Saturday morning, rising early for this (or any other prominent meteor shower) is well worth the opportunity to see a natural wonder of the near space environment in which we all reside.



    Please feel free to send in meteor sightings and your reactions to the experience.




    By Steve Tracton | 09:42 AM ET, 10/21/2011
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    Default Re: Orionids meteor shower peaks tonight

    A helpful chart for you.
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    Default Re: Orionids meteor shower peaks tonight

    Harold Camping's End of the World on Oct 21st same time as Orinoid Meteor?




    Roz Zurko

    , Hartford Pop Culture Examiner
    October 20, 2011 - Like this? Subscribe to get instant updates.




    The end of the world is tomorrow, October 21, 2011, according to Harold Camping the radio preacher, who has quite a following out there. He said the end of the world was starting a few months back, with the final day being tomorrow! This is when he called May 21st judgment day and October 21st the day of rapture. The Orinoid Meteor shower is also expected tomorrow, according to the LA Times. October 21st offers a couple of different worldly happenings.
    While Camping’s Judgment Day prediction was followed by some horrific acts by both Mother Nature and events started by the hands of humans, depending on how much you want to believe you can read things into Camping’s predictions. People do follow and believe in Camping’s warnings that the world is going to end. They will most likely be fine along with the rest of the world on October 22nd.
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    The 2011 Orinoid meteor shower peaks on October 21st and 22nd right before dawn, so Camping’s end of the world is coming at the same time as a light show from the terrestrials. The Orinoid meteor shower is a yearly event that occurs when the earth passes through a dust trail left by Halley’s Comet.
    Reference: LA Times
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    Default Re: Orionids meteor shower peaks tonight

    By Joe Rao

    updated 10/14/2011 6:47:54 PM ET


    If you step outside before dawn during the next week or so, you might try to catch a view of some "cosmic litter" that has been left behind in space by Halley's Comet: the Orionid meteor shower.
    The Orionids can best be described as a junior version of the famous Perseid meteor shower. This year's Orionids show is scheduled to reach its maximum before sunrise on the morning of Oct. 22. The meteors are known as "Orionids" because the fireballs seem to fan out from a region to the north of Orion's second brightest star, ruddy Betelgeuse.
    Currently, Orion appears ahead of us in our journey around the sun. The constellation does not completely rise above the eastern horizon until after 11 p.m. local daylight time. At its best, several hours later around 5 a.m., Orion will be highest in the sky toward the south.

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    The Orionids typically produce around 20 to 25 meteors per hour under a clear, dark sky. Orionid meteors are normally dim and not well seen from urban locations, so you'd do best to find a safe rural location to see the most Orionid activity. [ Spectacular Leonid meteor shower photos ]
    Orionid meteors will begin to increase noticeably around Oct. 17, when they'll start appearing at about five per hour. After peaking on the morning of Oct. 22, activity will begin to slowly descend, dropping back to around five per hour around Oct. 26. The last stragglers usually appear sometime in early to mid- November.
    Halley's Legacy
    Halley's Comet has left a visible legacy in the form of these two annual meteor showers, one of which is the Orionids. This will be a good year to look for them, since the moon will have slimmed down to a crescent on the morning of the Orionids peak, and will not pose much of a hindrance for those watching for Orionids in 2011. This slender moon will not rise until around 2 a.m. local daylight time.
    Comets are the leftovers of the solar system's creation, the odd bits and pieces of simple gases — methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide and water vapor — that went unused when the sun and its attendant planets came into their present form. Meteoroids that are released into space out of this debris are the remnants of a comet's nucleus. All comets eventually disintegrate into meteor swarms, and Halley's is well into that process already. [ Video: Meteors from Halley's Comet ]
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    These tiny particles — mostly ranging in size from dust to sand grains — remain along the original comet's orbit, creating a "river of rubble" in space. In the case of Halley's Comet, which has likely circled the sun many hundreds, if not thousands, of times, its dirty trail of debris has been distributed more or less uniformly all along its orbit. When these tiny bits of comet collide with Earth, friction with our atmosphere raises them to white heat and produces the effect popularly referred to as "shooting stars."

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    The orbit of Halley's Comet closely approaches the Earth's orbit at two places. One point is in the early part of May, producing a meteor display known as the Eta Aquarids. The other point comes in the middle to later part of October, producing the Orionids.
    What to expect
    The best time to watch begins from 1 or 2 a.m. local daylight time, until around dawn, when the shower's point of origin (in Orion's upraised club, just north of the bright red star, Betelgeuse) is highest above the horizon. The higher this point, called the radiant, the more meteors appear all over the sky.
    The Orionids are one of just a handful of meteor showers that can be observed equally well from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
    This meteor shower is one of the better annual displays, producing about 15 to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. Add the five to 10 sporadic meteors that always are plunging into our atmosphere and you get a maximum of about 20 to 30 meteors per hour for a dark sky location. Most of these meteors are relatively faint, however, so any light pollution will cut the total way down.
    The shower may be quite active for several days before or after its broad maximum, which may last from Oct. 20 through Oct. 24. Step outside before sunrise on any of these mornings, and if you catch sight of a meteor, there's about a 75 percent chance that it likely originated from the nucleus of Halley's Comet.
    "They are easily identified … from their speed," write David Levy and Stephen Edberg in "Observe: Meteors," an Astronomical League manual. "At 66 kilometers (41 miles) per second, they appear as fast streaks, faster by a hair than their sisters, the Eta Aquarids of May. And like the Eta Aquarids, the brightest of family tend to leave long-lasting trains. Fireballs are possible three days after maximum."
    Recent studies have shown that about half of all Orionids that are seen leave trails that lasted longer than other meteors of equal brightness. This is undoubtedly connected in some way to the makeup of Halley's Comet. So it is that the shooting stars that we have come to call Orionids are really an encounter with the traces of a famous visitor from the depths of space and from the dawn of creation.
    Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.
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    Default Re: Orionids meteor shower peaks tonight

    Bright Flash Lights Up Sky

    October 21, 2011
    Truckers and at least one law officer all reported seeing a very brief but very bright flash in the sky.


    Bright Flash Lights Up Sky

    Truckers and at least one law officer all reported seeing a very brief but very bright flash in the sky just before 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Trucker Klye Moulds was on U.S. Highway 2 east of Devils Lake, N.D. when he saw what looked like lightning. It was colored with red, blue and green.
    Another trucker near Oriska, N.D. says it was so bright he should have had sunglasses on.
    A Walsh County deputy sheriff also saw the flash, which was described as a red orb.
    The best guess is that the bright light was part of the Orionid meteor shower which will peak this weekend. The meteor shower occurs each October as the earth passes through a trail of dust left by Halley's comet.
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    Default Re: Orionids meteor shower peaks tonight

    Space Weather News for Oct. 21, 2011
    http://spaceweather.com

    WEEKEND METEOR SHOWER: Today Earth is entering a stream of debris from Halley's comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Saturday morning, Oct. 22nd, with more than 15 meteors per hour. Check http://spaceweather.com for links to a live meteor radar, sky maps and observing tips.

    MASSIVE SATELLITE NEARS RE-ENTRY: The massive ROSAT X-ray space telescope is making its final spiralling orbits around Earth. Most experts agree that re-entry will occur during the early hours of Oct. 23rd over a still-unknown region of our planet. Sky watchers report that the descending satellite can be as bright as a first magnitude star and it occasionally "flares" to even greater intensity. For last-chance sightings of ROSAT in your area, please check SpaceWeather's online satellite tracker (http://spaceweather.com/flybys) or turn your smartphone into a ROSAT tracker: http://simpleflybys.com .
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