The annual Orionid meteor shower has been soaring high above Toronto for almost a week now.
In fact, we saw early warnings of it a couple of weeks ago when the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Observatory captured footage of a meteor streaking across our night skies.
The fireball meteor was so bright some people called 911 to report a possible plane crash.
Lucky for us, the Orionid (named after the belt) meteor shower is comprised of fireball meteors which, according to the American Society of Meteors is defined as:
Another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus as seen in the morning or evening sky.
So ya, the sky should be pretty lit…kind of.
A couple of things to keep in mind before you stay up for a weekend of disappointment.
- Get the hell out of Toronto if you want a solid shot at seeing the up to 20 meteors an hour that will be running across the sky. Drive north 30 or 40 minutes to escape the urban light pollution.
- According to Space.com, the best time to catch the Orionids is in the pre-dawn hours. So either wake up early or stay up late, but looking up around 5 am is the best time to see the show.
- The moon is a problem. It’s currently rocking out at just over 60% illumination, which means it’s going to block a lot of the meteors. This means that despite the Orionid enjoying its peak tonight, Saturday and Sunday night/morning will actually be better for you to catch them.
Toronto weather is calling for a cloudy night tonight but clearer skies both Saturday and Sunday.
Time to break out the binoculars and head north for the show.