The Orinoids meteor shower will be visible this weekend in Northeastern Michigan. While the duration of the shower lasts roughly one month, it will peak this weekend, where viewers may see over twenty meteors per hour. For optimal viewing, be sure to find a spot without light pollution like our local dark sky preserves. John Heath, former Besser Museum planetarium director, said, “We’re seeing little grains of sand or smaller dust particles for the most part are left over from Haley’s Comet that went by every 76 years. Those little particles are burning up in the atmosphere because they are hitting all of the molecules in the atmosphere and most of them are so small, they just make a small streak. Some of them are a little bigger, maybe sand sized, and they make a longer streak.”
If weather conditions are favorable, viewers will be able to see these streaks of light throughout the night. “You probably want to be, so you’re not hurting your neck, either flat on your back or in a chair that’s leaning back,” said Heath. “If it’s before midnight, face your chair to the east and lean back and enjoy the view. You should see some good stuff to talk about and enjoy with your friends too.”
The best viewing times are anticipated to be late at night Friday and Saturday and the early morning hours on Saturday and Sunday before the sun is up.
Astrophotography featured in this story is courtesy of Jason Patterson and John Caplis.