2007 Orionid Shower

2007 Orionids Composite The annual Orionid meteor shower occurs when debris from Comet Halley intercepts the Earth at a high velocity. This debris stream is somewhat diffuse, so we see activity for several days on either side of the peak.

This is a composite image of 450 meteors collected between sunset on October 17 and sunrise on October 24. Since the images were collected over many hours, the radiant of the shower is not in a fixed location. During this time of year there are many minor showers active in addition to the Orionids. The very long meteor to the right of center is not a shower member. It was witnessed at 5:58 AM MDT on October 20, and was traveling very slowly (total flight was about 20 seconds). This fireball is under investigation, and may have been a decaying rocket body.

Long string-like images are stars or planets captured as they traveled across the sky over many hours. The bright streak at the lower left is Venus, which provides a useful brightness reference. At magnitude -4, Venus is the same brightness as a fireball. The Moon has been digitally removed from the composite image, but is evident in some of the videos.

Fireball videos:

This chart plots the total meteor activity over one week. The Orionids peaked on October 21, but a winter storm developed shortly after midnight, and very few meteors were captured.

2007 Orionid Activity

This table provides a breakdown of all captured meteors into the currently active showers. These are the epsilon Geminids (EGE), Orionids (ORI), Leo Minorids (LMI), Southern Taurids (STA), and Northern Taurids (NTA). Also counted are sporadics (SPO), which don't appear to belong to any shower, and unknown meteors (UNK), which are mostly Orionids but which have paths too short to conclusively trace back to any specific radiant.

18-Oct 19-Oct 20-Oct 21-Oct 22-Oct 23-Oct 24-Oct 25-Oct 26-Oct
EGE 2 2 7 0 7 6 7 4 7 42
ORI 6 14 48 9 89 43 50 25 23 307
LMI 0 2 5 0 5 2 3 1 4 22
STA 2 1 9 1 4 3 3 1 1 25
NTA 0 4 11 0 5 4 3 2 2 31
SPO 3 1 2 1 7 1 6 3 1 25
UNK 3 7 11 1 26 12 15 13 9 97
16 31 93 12 143 71 87 49 47 549

The shower's apparent radiant was located at RA = 95.0° ± 2.2°, dec = 14.7° ± 2.1°, with an approximate diameter of 3°.
Radiant Plot

© Copyright 2007, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.