How to see the 2020 Orionid meteor shower, active now and starting to light up the night sky

Halley’s Comet in 1986.


The Draconid meteor shower and a shocking present from Mars in the night sky function the opening act for the October headliner: the annual Orionid meteor bathe is already seen and set to peak later this month. 

The Orionids are actually simply bits of mud and particles left behind from famed Comet Halley on its earlier journeys by the internal photo voltaic system. As our planet drifts by the cloud of comet detritus annually round this time, all that cosmic gravel and dirt slams into our higher environment and burns up in a show we see on the bottom as “capturing stars” and even the occasional fireball.

The Orionids are thought-about a serious meteor bathe primarily based on the quantity of seen meteors that may be seen racing towards inevitable doom throughout its lively interval, which runs roughly from the primary week of October to the primary week of November. 

The present is already lively and the American Meteor Society forecasts {that a} handful of meteors per hour could also be seen over the following a number of days, main as much as the height on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21, when the quantity might improve to 20 per hour. 

The Orionids can epitomize the previous phrase “blink and also you may miss it” as they enter our environment at a particularly quick velocity of roughly 147,000 miles per hour (66 kilometers per second). That stated, a good quantity of those meteors go away persistent trails that final for a number of seconds. Some even fragment and break up in a extra spectacular style. 

To catch the present, the recommendation is similar as for all celestial spectator occasions: Discover a spot away from gentle air pollution with a large open view of the night time sky. Bundle up if wanted, lay again, loosen up and let your eyes regulate. You need not deal with any a part of the sky, however the Orionids are so named as a result of their trails seem to originate from the identical normal space of the sky because the constellation Orion and the bright star Betelgeuse

The very best time to search for the Orionids in 2020 might be within the early morning hours earlier than daybreak on Oct. 21, however this bathe is thought for an prolonged peak, so you need to have likelihood of seeing some meteors should you stand up early a number of days earlier than or after that peak date as properly. 

The moon will set earlier than peak morning viewing hours, in order that’ s one other perk this yr. Benefit from the present and as all the time, please share any nice meteor pictures you may seize with me on Twitter @EricCMack

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Eric Mack