and a stunning show from served as an act of discovery of the meteor shower Orionid, which is already active and visible.
Orionids are considered to be the main meteor shower based on the number of visible meteors that can be seen rushing to their inevitable death during its active period, which lasts from about the first week of October to the first week of November.
The show is already active, and the American Meteor Society predicts that a handful of meteors per hour may be seen over the next few days, leading to peaks on October 20 and October 21, when the number could rise to 20 per hour.
Orionids are really just bits of dust and debris left over from the famous Halley’s Comet during its previous voyages through the inner solar system. When our planet drifts through a cloud of cometary detritus every year at this time, all that cosmic gravel and dirt enters our upper atmosphere and burns out on the screen we see on earth as shooting stars and even a random fireball.
Orionids can embody the old phrase “blink, and you can miss it” because they enter our atmosphere at an extremely fast speed, about 147,000 miles per hour (66 kilometers per second). However, many of these meteors leave steady trails that last a few seconds. Some even fragment and disintegrate more effectively.
Photos of the Perseid meteor shower in 2020 shine brightly in the dark year
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To catch the show, the advice is the same as for all celestial spectator events: find a place away from light pollution with a wide open view of the night sky. If necessary, contact, settle down, relax and let your eyes adjust. You don’t need to focus on any part of the sky, but the Orionids are so named because their paths seem to originate from the same general area of the sky as the constellations Orion and.
The absolute best time to search for Orionids in 2020 is probably the early morning hours before dawn on October 21, but this downpour is known for a long peak, so you should have a good chance of seeing some meteors if you also get up a few days before or after give a peak.
The moon will go to peak hourly viewing hours, so that’s another privilege this year. Enjoy the show and, as always, share any great meteor shots you can take with me on Twitter @EricCMack.