2012 Orionid Shower

2012 Orionids Composite The annual Orionid meteor shower occurs when debris from Comet Halley intercepts the Earth at a high velocity (66 km/s, or 150,000 mph). 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 134 Orionid meteors collected between sunset on October 18 and sunrise on October 22. The predicted peak was for the morning of October 21. There was no interference from the Moon this year, and sky conditions were excellent.

Since the images were collected over many hours, the radiant of the shower is not in a fixed location. Long string-like images are stars or planets captured as they traveled across the sky over many hours.

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 Epsilon Geminids, Leo Minorids, Southern Taurids, Northern Taurids, and numerous sporadics.

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.

2012 Orionid Activity

© Copyright 2012, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.