After the Perseids, the Orionid Meteor shower will offer a new night sky show as the event should reach its peak Thursday night to Friday morning.
The Orionids meteor shower is formed due to the passing of the Comet 1p, or as it more commonly known, Haley’s Comet. As such, the celestial show has grown to be one the year’s most waited for night sky events.
As Haley’s comet passes in an orbit very close to the Sun, it leaves debris in its wake. Following its own orbit, the Earth will pass through the debris left by the comet which will, in turn, make the smaller astral bodies collide with our planet.
As the remnants will enter into contact with our planet’s atmosphere, they will catch fire and light up the sky as they burn across it.
A number of 15 to 20 shooting stars, or meteors, are expected to light up the sky each hour during the shower’s peak moment. The estimated number is quite low when compared to the past years’ numbers when 60-70 shooting stars were registered per hour.
The reduced number of meteors could potentially be caused by the stars’ faster movement across the sky, as they will reach a speed of almost 148,000 miles/hour.
One of the Orionid meteor shower’s main attractions is its duration. According to NASA meteor specialist, Bill Cooke, the shower features either a flat maximum or a double peak. This would mean that the celestial show can be seen for two nights and not just as a one-time chance.
The people interested in watching the Orionid meteor shower are advised to find darker locations, if possible as further away from a city’s light pollution as possible. The best hours for watching the show will also probably be during the predawn hours of the morning.
As the shooting stars are formed somewhere in the Orion constellation, it is also recommended to find and especially follow the said region. Orion can be found in the sky’s southeastern side and can be easily spotted when looking for Sirius.
Sirius, which is also the sky’s brightest shining star, is easy to find as it is placed near the horizon and a simple head tilt should be enough.
The Orionid meteor shower takes places every year in October, and will registers this year’s peak on October 20, and 21.
Image Source: Wikimedia