Friday, 24 November, 2017

Halley's Comet is source of this week's Orionids meteor shower

Orionid Meteor Shower in the night's sky GETTYOrionids The Orionid Meteor Shower will be streamed live online
Theresa Hayes | 19 October, 2017, 19:25

This weekend brings forth the peak of the Orionid meteor shower, which is known to generate the brightest and fastest meteors throughout the year - roughly 80 meteors per hour to be exact.

With the moon just past new Saturday, there will be no lunar interference.

The Orionids, which streak out of the constellation Orion, could produce up to 50 shooting stars per hour on Saturday, with the peak period expected to last from 10 p.m.to the pre-dawn hours the next day.

Dubbed "the most famous comet", Halley's comet was named after English astronomer, Edmond HalleyWhat is Halley's comet?

Between this time the showers will be at their brightest and most visible.

This particular meteor shower happens every year as the earth passes through the orbit path of Comet Halley.

Although the number of Orionids can not rival the three major meteor showers of the year - the Quadrantids, Perseids and Geminids - they are known for consistency in intensity and convenience for observation, as they are both bright and positioned near the zenith, the museum said.

All you will need to enjoy the Orionids will be a comfortable deck chair and some blankets to protect you from the chilly spring temperatures. It won't come again until 2061.

As the chart above shows, Orion is in the northeastern sky after midnight.

"Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, though if you have to pick a direction, you might fare slightly better looking east".

Mr Kerss said: "There's no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope, your eyes are the best tool available for spotting meteors, so relax and gaze up at the sky, and eventually your patience will be rewarded". The show requires registration, so arrive early if not already a member.

Unlike most major annual showers, the Orionids occur over several nights centered on October 22.