The Orionid Meteor Shower Can Be Seen This Week

Earth is passing through the stream of meteorites from the tail of Halley’s Comet.

Between the nights of October 20, 21 and 22, the peak of the Orionid meteor shower will take place.

And the cause is Halley’s Comet.

Every year from mid to late October, the Earth passes through a stream of debris from Halley’s Comet and the sky, before dawn, can be illuminated with a beautiful array of shooting stars.

“We expect to see about 20-25 meteors per hour when the shower peaks, early Tuesday, October 21,” said Bill Cooke, chief of NASA’s Office of the Meteoroid Environment.

The Moon during this night will be in a crescent quarter, so it is better to wait after midnight, so that the brightness of the Moon is not so intense and the meteors can be observed more clearly.

Since these meteors come out of the constellation Orion, astronomers call them “Orionids.” “The Orionid meteor shower is not the strongest, but it is one of the most beautiful showers of the year,” Cooke said.

Celestial map to observe the Orionids. Courtesy: NASA / NASANET

The cause is its environment: the rain is surrounded by the brightest stars in the sky.

Constellations like Taurus, Gemini and Orion provide a brilliant backdrop for the show. The brightest star of all, Sirius (Sirius), is located just below Orion’s left foot, which is a good place to point the camera while waiting for the meteors.

To see the show, Cooke suggests going outside an hour or two before the sun rises, when the sky is dark and the constellation Orion is high overhead. Lie down on a blanket, in an open place that allows you to see the whole sky. Even though the constellation Orionids emerges from a small area located near Orion’s shoulder, meteors will flood the entire sky.

The best time to search for Orionid meteors will be just before sunrise on Thursday, October 22, when Earth encounters the densest part of the Halley debris stream.

Watching this meteor shower is easy: get up a few hours before sunrise, go outside and look up.

You don’t need a telescope to see the Orionids appearing in the sky. Observing conditions are favorable this year, as the Moon should set at 11 p.m. PT, allowing for a good view just before sunrise, when the meteor shower will be at its highest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *