2009 Orionid Shower

2009 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 206 Orionid meteors collected between sunset on October 15 and sunrise on October 24. The actual peak was on the evening of October 21, but a snow storm that night and the next prevented any meteors from being recorded. 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, but those meteors are not shown in this image. Over the time frame of the composite, the camera captured 38 Epsilon Geminids, 9 Leo Minorids, 21 Southern Taurids, 16 Northern Taurids, and 61 sporadics.

Long string-like images are stars or planets captured as they traveled across the sky over many hours.

Fireball videos:

This chart plots the total meteor activity over the days around the peak. The rate reflects only meteors brighter than about magnitude 1; a visual observer would have seen several times these rates. The Orionids peaked on October 21, but a winter storm prevented any meteors from being captured on that evening or the next.

2009 Orionid Activity

© Copyright 2009, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.