Slooh’s wide-field optics on the Canary islands, and its three-person broadcast team, will show and discuss the Orionid meteor shower starting at 5 PM PDT / 8 PM EDT / 00 UTC (10/21), Sunday night, October 20.
These “shooting stars” are actually debris from Halley’s Comet, and hit our atmosphere at approximately the same fast speed as summer’s famous Perseids. They deliver, at best, only about one meteor every three minutes, which is just one-third the rate of either the Perseids, or December’s reliably-rich Geminid meteors. Moreover, this year a nearly-full Moon will interfere, and subdue all but the brightest individual shower members.
Slooh has mixed feelings about “hyping” relatively minor showers. SLOOH’s astronomers feel that, except for the extremely rare years when the November 18 Leonids perform well, only the two aforementioned annual meteor showers are likely to produce noteworthy results for the casual observer.
Nonetheless, of the dozens of minor showers, the Orionids rank among the best. Moreover, having the distinguished pedigree of being progeny of the most famous comet in history, entitles them to be showcased. SLOOH hopes to capture enough to make this 15-minute real-time program worthwhile.