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Orionids Meteor Shower set to peak on Friday evening

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If you happen to’re a fan of stargazing, be certain that you have an eye fixed to the skies tonight.

A ‘beautiful’ meteor shower called the Orionids can be visible with the naked eye when it peaks on Friday evening. 

The Orionids occur every autumn when Earth passes through a stream of debris left by Halley’s Comet, filling the sky with ‘prolonged explosions of sunshine’, NASA says. 

This 12 months, the annual shower will peak on the night of October 21-22 between midnight and dawn (Friday evening to Saturday morning).

During this era, there may very well be 20 shooting stars flying overhead every hour, each travelling at speeds of as much as 41 miles (66 kilometers) per second.

The radiant for the Orionids (the purpose within the sky the meteors appear to return from) is within the constellation of Orion, hence the name ‘Orionids’

Described as 'one of the most beautiful showers of the year', the Orionids (pictured here in 2016) occur every autumn when Earth passes through a stream of debris left by Halley's Comet

Described as ‘one of the beautiful showers of the 12 months’, the Orionids (pictured here in 2016) occur every autumn when Earth passes through a stream of debris left by Halley’s Comet

What’s the Orionid meteor shower?

The Orioinid shower is made up from the remnants of Halley’s Comet. The comet itself was last seen in 1986 and just isn’t on account of brighten Earth’s skies again until 2061. 

But every year in mid-to-late October, Earth passes through the comet’s dusty debris. When this happens the pre-dawn sky can light up with a shocking display of shooting stars. 

People living in North America, Europe, most parts of Asia, and northern parts of South America can to see the meteor shower by looking towards the south-eastern sky.

Those that live within the southern hemisphere can see the shower by trying to the north eastern sky. 

‘The Orionids, which peak during mid-October every year, are considered to be one of the beautiful showers of the 12 months,’ NASA says.

‘Orionid meteors are known for his or her brightness and for his or her speed. These meteors are fast – they travel at about 148,000 miles per hour (66 km/s) into Earth’s atmosphere. 

‘Fast meteors can leave glowing “trains” (incandescent bits of debris within the wake of the meteor) which last for several seconds to minutes. 

‘Fast meteors also can sometimes grow to be fireballs; search for prolonged explosions of sunshine when viewing the Orionid meteor shower.’ 

To search out the Orionids, members of the general public should discover a spot away from streetlamps and other sources of sunshine pollution. 

The meteors could be seen with the naked eye so there is no need for binoculars or a telescope, although a period of 20 minutes is suggested to permit the eyes to regulate to the dark. 

The radiant for the Orionids – the purpose within the sky the meteors appear to return from – is within the constellation of Orion, hence the name ‘Orionids’. 

The Met Office told MailOnline that forecasts are looking good for the time of the meteor shower’s peak. 

‘On Friday night, one of the best likelihood for seeing the Orionid meteor shower can be across England and Wales, where skies will grow to be increasingly clear because the night wears on,’ said the Met Office’s senior operational meteorologist Dr Matthew Box.

‘Unfortunately, Saturday night looks set to be fairly cloudy across much of the UK with far fewer breaks and so my suggestion can be for any budding comet-gazer to benefit from Friday night.’   

In keeping with Royal Observatory Greenwich, the Orionids is an ‘extra-special’ display that reliably produces shooting stars which can be visible across the globe.

Halley's Comet on March, 8 1986. Halley's comet, which left the sand grain-sized particles that produce the Orionids, comes around the inner solar system every 75 or so years

Halley’s Comet on March, 8 1986. Halley’s comet, which left the sand grain-sized particles that produce the Orionids, comes across the inner solar system every 75 or so years

Orionid meteor steaks over the Jampayang snow mountain, Yading national nature reserve, Sichuan province of China

Orionid meteor steaks over the Jampayang snow mountain, Yading national nature reserve, Sichuan province of China

How you can see the meteor shower from the UK 

The Orionid meteor shower needs to be visible from anywhere on Earth, and could be seen anywhere across the sky.

Search for the form of Orion the Hunter, and the meteor shower’s radiant can be near Orion’s sword, to the north.

To be certain that you get one of the best view of the shower, get distant from light pollution – similar to city lights.

The shower can be most visible at around 1:30am on the early morning of October 20 and 21 .

Experts recommend you let your eyes adjust to the dark for 20 minutes. 

They’re viewable in each the Northern and Southern hemispheres within the hours after midnight. 

The moon may also be at lower than 20 per cent illumination, meaning moonlight shouldn’t dim our view of the shooting stars. 

Meteors, also generally known as shooting stars, come from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids.

When comets come across the sun, the dust they emit regularly spreads right into a dusty trail around their orbits. 

Every 12 months, Earth passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and vibrant streaks within the sky.    

Nonetheless, the events don’t pose a threat to humans because the objects nearly at all times burn up in our atmosphere before reaching the planet’s surface.  

Halley’s comet, which left the sand grain-sized particles that produce the Orionids, comes across the inner solar system every 75 or so years.

It was last visible with the naked eye in 1986, and won’t appear again until the summer of 2061.

Within the meantime, we’re left with viewing the meteor shower that comes from its ‘comet litter’ because it flies through the atmosphere.   

Meteors, also known as shooting stars, come from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids (artist's impression)

Meteors, also generally known as shooting stars, come from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids (artist’s impression)  

It’s one in all two showers created by the debris from Halley’s Comet; the opposite is the Eta Aquariids in May. 

Following the Orionids, there is a handful of meteor showers still set to happen this 12 months, including what NASA calls the ‘best meteor shower of the 12 months’, the Geminids.

This meteor shower takes place every 12 months between December 4 and December 17, peaking between December 13 and December 14.

Royal Observatory Greenwich says the Geminids gives as much as 100 shooting stars per hour, and are regarded as intensifying every 12 months. 

REMAINING METEOR SHOWERS IN 2022 

Orionids: October 21-22 – 25 per hour – Fast with superb trains

Taurids: October 10-11 (Southern), November 12-13 (Northern) – 5 per hour – Very slow

Leonids: November 17-18 – 10 per hour – Fast and brilliant

Geminids: December 14-15 – 150 per hour – Shiny and plentiful, few trains

Ursids: December 22-23 – 10 per hour – Sparse shower 

Note: Dates check with each shower’s peak 

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