How to watch the Orionids meteor shower this week

21 Octobre, 2020, 05:52 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Perseid meteor shower

A meteor shower that occurs annually due to Earth passing through dust released by Halley's Comet is set to peak Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Orionids are pieces of dust and detritus left behind from Comet Halley on its previous journeys through the inner solar system.

Almost two weeks after the Draconid meteor shower lit up the night skies, the Orionid meteor shower will do the same this week, giving stargazers a great view. In total, the 2020 Orionids run from October 2 to November 7, according to the American Meteor Society, a nonprofit that monitors meteor activity.

The meteors radiate from the well-known Orion constellation, but you don't have to look in the direction of the constellation to see them.

Arguably the most famous comet all actually only passes our world every 75 to 76 years. But if you can see Orion at all, it's worth looking up to see if meteors appear.

It's expected the meteor shower will peak in the early-morning hours on October 21, around 1 a.m., but skygazers should check to get an idea of the best viewing time in their area. That's because these meteors are fainter than the Perseid meteor shower, which last appeared in August.

Although just under two dozen meteors per hour are likely, there is a chance that this year's showing of the Orionids could outperform expectations.

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Onlookers should still curb any expectations for an outburst like this, as meteor showers are known for being hard to predict.

If you don't see much tonight, try again tomorrow. They arrive in Earth's atmosphere at 41 miles per second and vaporize in the upper atmosphere about 60 miles from Earth. Some travel so fast that they explode into fireballs, creating prolonged bursts of light.

A meteor forms when a meteoroid, a type of space rock that breaks off from an asteroid - a rocky body orbiting the sun - enters Earth's atmosphere. Some of the meteoroids are only the size of a grain of sand.

According to the Weather Channel, it's best to avoid light pollution (if possible) and not use binoculars or telescopes if you want to view the shower.

Find an open area away from the city that will afford you a wide view of the sky, and don't forget to bring a blanket or chair and dress for the weather.

Allow yourself time for your eyes to adjust to the dark.


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