Tampa, Fla. (WFLA) — While the Orionid meteor shower takes place this year from Sept. 26 through Nov. 22, Friday night into Saturday morning is the peak time to see meteors, averaging around 20 meteors per hour.
The Orionid meteor shower takes place around this time of the year every year as the Earth is moving through a debris field of dust and rocks left behind by Halley’s Comet.
There are multiple factors that greatly affect if you are able to see the meteors. The most important is light pollution. Light from streetlamps, etc. will obscure your ability to see the meteors racing across the sky. Rural, open fields are optimal, void of lightning. The more of the sky that you can see, the better your chances are of seeing the meteors.
The most memorable meteor showers I have ever seen were from mountain tops, one from Arcadia National Park in Maine and the others from the mountains along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Obviously, we can’t access mountain tops here in the Tampa Bay area, but if you are travelling someday and have the chance — it’s worth it to get the extra elevation. Unfortunately, rooftop bars have too much lighting to work for the purpose of meteor viewing.
Cloud cover is also an issue that can block your view of a meteor shower, if it is overcast you will not be able to see the streaks of light from the meteor shower.
The best time to catch the meteor shower is from after midnight on Friday night through sunrise on Saturday. The moon will be 37% illuminated, so it won’t provide too much light pollution and obscure the shower.
Cloud cover over Tampa bay will be decreasing after midnight, so the viewing conditions will continue to improve during the peak. Temperatures will be comfortable, in the low 70s to upper 60s.