Orionid meteor shower reaches its dazzling peak tonight

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 21, 2020

The Geminid meteor shower, set to peak on the night of December 13 into the morning of December 14.

The annual Orionid meteor shower will peak on Wednesday night. This averages out to a meteor every few minutes. In total, the 2020 Orionids run from October 2 to November 7, according to the American Meteor Society, a nonprofit that monitors meteor activity.

Although just under two dozen meteors per hour are likely, there is a chance that this year's showing of the Orionids could outperform expectations.

And the International Meteor Organisation has said the 2020 Orionid meteor shower could witness an unusually large peak in the UK.

It is unclear how many meteors per hour this translates to, but between 2006 and 2009, which were exceptional years for the Orionids, observers counted 50-75 meteors an hour, according to the AMS.

What is the Orionid meteor shower?

The Orionids are pieces of dust and detritus left behind from Comet Halley on its previous journeys through the inner solar system.

Meteor showers take place when Earth collides with a cosmic stream of fine debris resulting from a comet shedding its mass after getting too close to the Sun. They are made up of debris from the famous Halley's Comet. And if you can't see the meteor shower on October 21, experts advise looking up during the early morning hours before and after Wednesday this week because it will still be visible.

Your favourite fall meteor shower is back!

And AccuWeather.com reports that this year will be good to watch Orionids, as the crescent moon will set before the radiant point rises in the southeastern sky.

To catch the show in the next couple of nights, find a clear view of the stars away from city lights.

California, the southwestern USA, and parts of the southeast will likely get the best views, since clouds are in the forecast for the east coast.

You don't need any special equipment or skills to view a meteor shower.

Both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres can enjoy the show.

The rest of the continent will have some clouds to deal with, but there could be enough breaks in the clouds to allow some meteors to be seen on peak night.

This meteor shower may not be the most spectacular of the year, but it delights in other ways. Some suggest bringing a blanket or chair with you, as meteor-watching can be a waiting game.

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