2010 Orionid Shower

2010 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 143 Orionid meteors collected between sunset on October 16 and sunrise on October 21. The predicted peak should have occurred on the morning of October 21, but a thin cloud layer blocked many of the dimmer meteors. Since the images were collected over many hours, the radiant of the shower is not in a fixed location. This year the Moon interfered significantly with the shower. This is a larger problem for visual observers than for the camera. In the composite image, the Moon has been digitally removed.

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 39 Epsilon Geminids, 4 Leo Minorids, 11 Southern Taurids, 16 Northern Taurids, and 52 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.

2010 Orionid Activity


© Copyright 2010, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.