I have been out on 5 mornings so far in mid-October to view the Orionid shower from my yard located in the rural foothills east of San Diego. On all mornings I faced nearly due south about half-way up in the sky. The first morning was the 18th when I only counted 3 during 2.5 hours of viewing. It had been cloudy all day but was expected to clear by midnight. I woke at midnight but skies were still too cloudy to observe. It wasn’t until 3:30 PDT that the skies cleared sufficiently to view. As soon as I started high clouds began to appear again. I watched for 40 minutes before giving up. That first session produced 3 meteors and no Orionids. I did notice the western horizon was clear so there was still hope of seeing more activity before dawn arrived. Conditions improved by 5:20 PDT so I resumed counting for another 40 minutes. Even though there were some passing clouds, this session was more productive producing 11 meteors.
I had to work the next two nights so my next session was on Saturday morning Oct 21. On that morning I watched from 03:00 to 06:00 PDT and counted 25 meteors, 12 of them belonging to the Orionid shower. The highest hourly rate was 6 and rates actually fell as the morning progressed. Minor showers were quiet too as only 1 Southern Taurid was seen. To be fair, conditions were poor with hazy skies and high humidity.
On Sunday morning Oct. 22, conditions were better with less haze and lower humidity. I watched from 2:00 to 6:00 PDT with a 10 minute break during the second hour. In the 3.83 hours I watched I counted a total of 61 meteors, 43 belonging to the Orionid shower. The hourly rates for the Orionids really jumped around ranging from 8 to 16 to 8 to 11. The second hour should have produced 19 had I been able to view a full 60 minutes. Needless to say I was a bit underwhelmed at the activity. The LM’s were just under 6.0 to start but fell to the low 5’s as the morning progressed. Bright Orionids were scarce with magnitude -1 being the brightest recorded. Once again minor showers were scarce with only 1 Leonis Minorid being seen. I was really surprised at the lack of Taurid activity.
I had to work Monday morning Oct. 23 but still managed an hour of viewing from 1:30-2:30 PDT before heading off to work. Skies were very good and the humidity less than 20%. The LM was 6.11 which allowed me to see 17 total meteors during this hour. 11 of these were Orionids including a -5 fireball that shot into the northwestern sky. I also counted 2 Southern Taurids and 1 distinct chi Taurid, from a radiant just west of the Pleiades.
I was out for 3 hours on Tuesday morning Oct. 24 from 3:00 to 6:00 PDT. Skies were once again clear and transparent. It was warm too with a steady temperature at 72F (22C). I counted a total of 41 meteors including 23 Orionids. The hourly rates for the Orionids were 5-8-10, a steady climb like one would expect. No Orionid fireballs this morning but had a couple at -2 and -1. The minor showers finally appeared producing 2 STA, 2 EGE, and 1 LMI. I also had a possible zeta Cancrid which appears on current activity charts from CAMS and Canadian radar.
The weather is expected to remain clear the remainder of the week so I will be out at least one hour on each night until it either clouds up or the moon begins to interfere.