Stargazers and space enthusiasts will have an opportunity to view the Orionid meteor shower this month.
Orionid, which is expected to peak on October 20 and 21 and will continue through November, are debris of Comet 1P/Haley, popularly as Haley’s Comet. Originating from the constellation Orion, the meteor shower graces the night skies every year in October.
Haley’s Comet swings by the Earth every 75 years; many people may have a chance to view it once in their lifetime.
Also read: Perseid Meteor Shower 2016 – How To Watch, Time & Best View In Los Angeles, New York & More
As noted by Space.com, about 15 to 20 meteors per hour might be visible in the shower. This is noted to be less than the highest number of meteors, which have historically been known to reach 70 to 80 per hour. Being among the fastest and brightest meteor showers, they streak through the sky at a relative speed of about 148,000 miles per hour.
When the comet fragments enter the Earth’s atmosphere, friction causes them to heat up and leave behind a bright trail – also known as a shooting star, Space.com notes. While most meteorites burn up completely in the atmosphere, a few are able to reach the Earth’s surface.
The pre-dawn hours will be the best time to watch the shower, which can be viewed by looking for the constellation Orion towards the southeastern sky.
As noted by WGNO, “the easiest way to find Orion is to look for Sirius, the brightest star in the sky which will be just above the horizon and then tilt your head up.” One will be able to view three stars situated in a line, known as Orion’s Belt that lies in the almost center of the constellation.
Space.com recommends viewing the shower from a place where there is dark sky, preferably away from major cities.