Orionid Meteor Shower October 17-25, 2013

A picture of a beautiful meteor and the moon in the background.

The Orionid meteor shower on October 17-25, 2013.

At maximum rates of 25 meteors per hour, expect a treat from October 17 through 25, with its peak on October 21 and 22.

Orionids are fast meteors, and we may see some fireballs with this event.

Easily Spotted

The meteors can be seen as elongated misty patches with the naked eye, and can be easily viewed through binoculars and backyard telescopes.

Look for the “W” formation of stars within Cassiopeia just to the left of Orion. Mars and Jupiter will be visible, too, 57 and 22 degrees above the eastern horizon in the early morning.


The Orionid meteor shower is the most dramatic meteor shower associated with Halley’s Comet. The Orionids appear to come from the constellation Orion, but they can be seen over a large area of the sky.

This meteor shower happens every year, and typically lasts for a week every October.

Halley’s Comet

When comets pass through our solar system, the Sun melts some of the ice, and rock particles break away from the comets. These particles continue on the comet’s trajectory and appear as meteors or “falling stars” when they pass through Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Halley’s comet created the Orionids, and has created many of the meteor showers that we see from Earth.

Dust off your telescopes, and have fun watching lots of beautiful objects in this October sky.



Asteroid 1998 QE2 Zips By Earth May 31, 2013

A picture of an asteroid and the Earth in space.

1998 QE2 passes close to Earth May 31, 2013

Keep your eyes to the sky and your feet on the ground, Friday, May 31, 2013.

Fireballs, asteroids, meteorites, and all kinds of rare and unusual objects have been seen in the skies this year. Here comes another one.

Fireball flashes were seen in the San Francisco Bay area on February 15, 2013 shortly after a meteorite streaked across the sky and exploded over Russia’s Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb. More big meteors were seen around the world on February 20, 2013. On May 3, 2013, a large, planet-like object was spotted on the horizon off Antarctica.

Ask any astronaut, and they’ll tell you that space is jam-packed with a plethora of noises, lights, and fast-moving objects of all shapes and sizes. There is a BIG world outside our little atmosphere, and we should not be surprised when one or two objects get a bit too close.

1998 QE2

Scientists do not know the origin of 1998 QE2, but it is estimated to be about 2 miles of solid rock. It is of little interest to many scientists, however, because it poses little to no danger to the Earth … yet that may not always be the case. Never take anything for granted. QE2 could disturb our planet just enough to cause an increase in earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. Hey, if you are riding in a VW bug with the top down and an 18-wheeler passes just a little too close, you’ll feel it.

QE2 will get no closer than about 3.6 million miles (5.8 million km), but we don’t know what else might be caught in its path, dragged along with it, or might be following close behind. It’s times like these that make you marvel at how lucky we are to have little to no damaging impacts from space objects hitting our planet.

Look to the skies on May 31 and maybe you’ll see a little bit of space history.