Britons brace for Orionids meteor shower this week – how to watch

Meteor spotted in night sky over Northern Ireland

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The Orionids meteor showers are set to grace the skies this week, and you can watch it right here in the UK. The shooting stars will be visible anywhere in the northern hemisphere in the annual event which lasts around a week. Sweeping across Britian this month, the event will peak between October 21 to 22 and is expected to end around November 7. Eager onlookers are advised to find an area with low levels of light pollution and look up in order to spot the meteors. Viewers can catch a glimpse from any direction if the skies are cloudless and the weather is dry. 

The Orionids showers are seen as one of the most spectacular showers of the year, and are renowned for their brightness and the sheer pace at which they dart through the Earth’s atmosphere (at around 148,000 mph). 

It is advised to keep a look out in the hours after midnight. The best way to get the best views is by lying on your back, with your feet facing southeast if you are in the Northern Hemisphere or northeast if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, taking in as much of the sky as you can, according to NASA.

Luckily, viewing conditions this year are set to be positive, with hardly any moonlight, forecasts suggest. This is good as dark, clear dark skies mark the optimal conditions for catching a glimpse of meteors zipping through the atmosphere. 

You also do not need any equipment to spot the phenomenon as it is possible to view the whole thing with the naked eye, without the need for binoculars or a telescope. However, NASA advises you to give yourself 30 minutes to adjust to the dark, and it would help if you avoid using flashlights and lights from external devices, like mobile phones for instance. 

But if the weather conditions are not as good as expected, then try to go on the lookout a few days before the peak viewing period. Around 10 to 20 meteors are expected to shoot per hour, although in some years, as many as 50 to 70 have appeared every hour.

Meteors come from leftover comet particles from Comet Halley and parts from fractured asteroids. When comets travel around the sun, they emit a dusty trail around their orbits, which the Earth passes through every year.

The air in front of the meteor gets squashed and heated to scoring temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius. While smaller meteors vaporise and leave a bright trail in their path, the bigger ones can explode as fireballs. 

Orionids get their name from the constellation they appear to come from (the radiant) – Orion, although the “constellation for which a meteor shower is named only serves to aid viewers in determining which shower they are viewing on a given night”, according to NASA’s blog. 

You should also avoid looking only toward the constellation of Orion to spot the shotting start as they are visible across the whole night sky. It is advised to watch the Orionids from 45 to 90 degrees away from the so-called radiant. 

From this perspective, they will appear longer and look even more stunning. If at the radiant diereclty, which is the Orion constellation, the meteors will appear shorter. This perspective is known as foreshortening.

Anna Ross, Royal Observatory Astronomer told Country Living: “Meteors will be visible all over the sky but they will appear to originate from close to the star Betelgeuse in the constellation of Orion, which will be in the East of the sky during that peak time. 

“The Orionids meteor shower is caused by dust from Halley’s comet burning up through our atmosphere, as the Earth crosses the orbit path of this comet. As both the Earth and Halley’s comet have elliptical orbits around the Sun, these two intersect twice per year. This cause not only the Orionids but also the Eta Aquarids meteor shower in May.”

Ukraine’s lethal weapon annihilating Putin’s drones [INSIGHT] 
Putin unveils plot to freeze Ukraine as Russia targets energy grid [REVEAL] 
Putin vows ‘end of supplies’ as EU mulls last ditch energy price cap [REVEAL] 

Halley’s comet is named after Edmond Halley, who discovered in 1705 that three previous comets return about every 76 years or so. He figured out that sightings all the same comet, and after he died the comet was named in Mr Halley’s honour.

Comet Halley is arguably the most famous comet and has been sighted for It is featured on the Bayeux tapestry, which chronicles the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Halley’s comet is named after Edmond Halley, who discovered in 1705 that three previous comets return about every 76 years or so.He figured out that sightings all the same comet, and after he died the comet was named in Mr Halley’s honour.

Source: Read Full Article