The Orionid Meteor Shower: Don’t miss your chance this year!
The Orionid Meteor Shower is active every year in October and it peaks tonight! Read on for some helpful hints and tips to ensure you get the best possible view!
What are Orionids?
Orionids are meteors that make up the Orionid Meteor Shower. It is one of two meteor showers associated with Halley’s comet, alongside the “Eta Aquarids” in May, and the only one that is confirmed to have Halley as its parent body.
Each time that Halley’s comet passes through the inner solar system on its orbit, its nucleus expels ice and rock particles into space. The particles become meteors or “shooting stars” when they pass through Earth’s atmosphere. Orionids take their name from Orion. This is because the meteors look like they emerge or “radiate” from the same area in the sky as the constellation Orion.
When can you see the meteor shower?
The Orionid meteor shower is active every year in October and is visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. This year, the shower was active from the October 2 and it usually peaks around October 20 / 21. At its peak, you can see up to 20 shooting stars an hour! That’s a lot of wishes!
Tonight, the meteors will be visible from around 10pm. At this time, look up at the constellation of Orion, it is easily recognisable by “Orion’s belt,” three roughly equidistant stars. Experts suggest that you look at the dark space around the constellation rather than at the constellation itself. Meteorologist Raymond Klaassen advises that you keep looking for the shooting stars in the days to come, as there is increased celestial activity before and after the peak of the shower.
How to see the Orionids
If the weather holds up, you can see the Orionid meteor shower with the naked eye. However, we do have some handy tips that will help you get the best view possible.
- Find a spot away from bright lights. It is best to find somewhere secluded, like a field or wooded area, as the sky won’t be tainted by bright city lights.
- Be prepared to wait. You may not notice the meteor shower straight away or it might not happen exactly on time, keep your eyes peeled and you’ll be rewarded.
- Know which way to look. Do your research, (luckily we’ve done it for you) on where to look in the sky.