When its the Orionids meteor shower?
The Orionids light up the night sky every year towards the end of October in “one of the most beautiful showers of the year”, according to Nasa.
The meteor shower will peak this weekend in the early morning hours between Friday October 20 and Sunday October 22.
Individual meteors have already been dashing across the nigh sky from October 15 and should remain visible until October 29.
During the peak, star gazers can expect anywhere up to 80 meteors an hour, though this year Nasa believes that the numbers may not be as spectacular.
Nasa’s Jane Houston Jones said: “The Orionids peak on October 20, a dark, moonless night. Look near Orion’s club in the hours before dawn and you may see up to 10 to 15 meteors per hour.
“Use binoculars to look for bright asteroid 7 Iris in the constellation Aries. Newbies to astronomy should be able to spot this magnitude 6.9 asteroid even from the city.”
What is the best time to view the Orionids meteor shower?
The Orionids will be visible anywhere from Earth in the early morning hours over the weekend, usually after midnight and just before dawn.
The best time for skywatchers to head outside is usually around 2am when the shower is at its most intense.
Star gazers will be aided this year by the lack of moonlight which should keep the skies clear of any hindering light pollution.
For an even better viewing experience, stay away from any sources of light pollution and give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark of space.
Where will the Orionid meteor shower appear?
The Orionids derive their name from there point of origin next to the Orion constellation, which ascends in the east.
But the shower’s radiant point is mostly irrelevant because the meteors will shoot out in all sorts of directions, and usually remain unseen until about 30 degrees form the radiant.
However if you spot a streaking meteor, you should be able to trace its path back to the its origin next to Orion’s club.
What are the Orionids?
The spectacular shooting stars are remnants of the prolific Halley’s Comet, which visits Earth every 74 t0 79 years.
When the comet passes through the solar system, chunks of ice and rock break off from the comet thanks to the sun, and trail in the comet’s path.
The first recorded reports of the shower date back to 1839, when it was spotted in America.
The Orionids are incredibly fast meteors, and crash into Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 66 km/s. Many of the falling stars leave ionised trails of glowing gas in their path.
Source : EXPRESS