Orionid meteor shower to light up night sky with up to 25 shooting stars expected per hour | UK News
Tonight’s sky will be lit up with celestial fireworks as Earth passes through debris left behind by Halley’s Comet.
The Orionid meteor is active throughout October but is expected to peak on Friday evening.
The shower is expected to present a dramatic light show and possibly produce up to 25 meteors every hour until early Saturday morning.
The phenomenon takes its name from the Orion constellation – one of the brightest asterisms in the sky.
An astronomy official at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, Jake Foster, said: “One of the things that makes this meteor shower special to some is that each meteor is a tiny bit of Halley’s Comet.”
The meteoroids can travel through Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds of 148,000 miles per hour and appear as huge streaks of light.
The Earth and Halley’s Comet cross each other twice a year due to their elliptical orbits around the Sun. This creates the Orionids, as well as the Eta Aquariid meteor show in May.
The Orionids will be visible in both the northern and southern hemispheres through November 7th.
Mr Foster added: “This year the Orionids will peak on the night of October 21 between midnight and dawn with a maximum of 25 shooting stars per hour.
“The shower will emanate from the constellation of Orion, which will rise on the southeastern horizon just before midnight.”
To have the best possible view, skygazers should adjust their eyes to the dark by avoiding artificial light as much as possible.
Mr Foster explained: “You don’t need any special viewing equipment to see the meteor shower, just clear skies and warm clothing.”