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How to see Orionid Meteor shower on 21 October

October 21, 2019

 

Orionids peak around 20-21 October usually, where up to twenty meteors can be visible every hour. They aren’t the only meteor shower home to this month however, as the Draconids peaked around 7-8 October.

 

 ...But let’s get back to the Orionid meteor shower. First of all, why is the shower called Orionid? Well, I can tell you that oreos and a cup of tea have nothing to do with it..

 

In fact, the shower is named after Orion, as you may have guessed if familiar with constellations.

 

The reason the shower is associated with Orion is because the meteors have tended to show up in the same area as the Orion constellation. 

 

Where do the Orionids come from? They are birthed as dust from Halley’s Comet, as debris generated from the comet. This is the second meteor shower created by Halley's Comet, as its sister, the Eta Aquarids, is also created but emerges in May. 

 

Want to see the Orionids? They have been active since the start of October, but the night of 21 October presents a good time to see them. It is advised by some experts not to get your hopes up too much though. Astrophysicist, Dr Das Baskill (@DrDasB) commented on the news about this event, saying "..this is such a weak shower that you will see more sporadic meteors than Orionids!". It was suggested that some astronomical events may be overhyped and not as easy to view as led to believe.

 

However, the Orionids is an interesting event to learn about, whether or not we are lucky to see them.

 

NASA said “The Orionids are viewable in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres during the hours after midnight. “Find an area well away from city or street lights."

 

The tweeted map below shows the points where it may be more visible tonight for the UK. It looks like most of England will be lucky enough to have the clear skies to see it.

 

 

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