Kicking off on 2nd October, the Orionid meteor shower will persist until 7th November. In the UK, the rain brought on by Storm Babet might obscure the view, but in other regions, fortunate observers could witness the radiant streaks across the sky.
This celestial display originates from Halley’s comet, one of history’s most renowned comets. As the comet orbits the Sun, it sheds tiny fragments which leave behind a trail of dust and icy debris. These fragments then enter our atmosphere at a speed of approximately 41 miles (66km) per second, igniting due to friction with the air, resulting in streaks of light. While Halley’s comet graces our vicinity only once every 75-76 years, with its next appearance slated for 2061, the meteor shower is an annual event.
How to Observe the Orionid Meteor Shower
The prime viewing date will be the night of 21st October, spanning from midnight to dawn. The shower is visible from both the northern and southern hemispheres, with clearer skies offering a more enhanced experience.
Viewers can witness the meteor shower with the naked eye, with only a brief period required to adjust to the darkness. To optimize the viewing experience, it’s advisable to seek out the darkest spot possible, minimizing the interference of streetlights and home lights. Given that meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, a spacious, open spot is ideal to have a panoramic view of the spectacle. The meteors’ trajectory remains unpredictable, so patience is key. Bringing along some beverages and snacks might be a wise choice.
For those unable to catch the display this weekend, the meteor shower will still be in its ‘maximum’ phase until around 28th October, presenting additional opportunities for observation.