Orionid meteor shower: Lack of moonlight makes for excellent viewing conditions

Kelly Massey
October 21, 2017

They are so-called because they appear to originate in the same part of the sky as the constellation Orion.

The particles come from Halley's Comet, which passes near Earth every 75 or 76 years. This means there won't be much light pollution away from the city lights. Budding astronomers and stargazers will want to mark their calendars for the peak of the Orionid meteor shower, which is coming up this weekend.

According to NASA, "Orionid meteors appear every year around this time, when Earth travels through an area of space littered with debris from Halley's Comet".

"If you can courageous the cold, make a plan to stay out between midnight and 3am on Sunday morning to give yourself the best chance, and enjoy the thrill of seeing tiny flecks of Halley's Comet disintegrate at hypersonic speeds above your head", Mr Kerss said. Here are some things you'll see if you step outside at night over the next few days.

The streaks of light you can see are actually caused by tiny bits of dust and rock called meteoroids entering the Earth's atmosphere and burning up.

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Experts say the best time to view the meteors is before dawn Saturday, around 3 a.m.

It will be a moonless night, too, according to NASA, meaning that - barring cloud cover - up to 10 to 15 meteors per hour will be visible before dawn. These have been known to produce up to 80 meteors per hour but his year the numbers are expected to be lower. The meteors themselves don't really show up until they have moved roughly 30 degrees from the radiant point.

Oh.and get wishing for some clear skies, of course.

Read tips from Seminole State College planetarium director Derek Demeter on how to make the most of your experience if you plan to visit the park for the meteor shower. The best chance you're going to get is when the planet is in opposition.

There will be clear skies in SC and throughout the eastern USA which will provide excellent viewing conditions.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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