A disappearing moon creates a scene for a remarkable meteor, which he notices this week as the peak of Orion̵
Orionids are actually just bits of dust and debris left by the famous comet Halley during her previous travels through the inner solar system. As our planet floats through the cloud of cometic detritus every year at this time, all this cosmic gravel and dirt hits our upper atmosphere and burns into a display that we see on earth as shooting stars and even the occasional fireball.
Orionids are considered a major meteor shower based on the amount of visible meteors that can be seen vying for imminent death during their active period, which runs from approximately the first week of October to the first week of November.
The show is now active, and the American Meteor Society predicts that a handful of meteors per hour could 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 can embody the old phrase “blink and you can miss it,” as they enter our atmosphere at an extremely fast speed of about 147,000 miles per hour (66 kilometers per second). However, most of these meteors leave lasting traces that last for a few seconds. Some even fragment and separate in a more spectacular way.
Pictures of the meteor shower from Perseid 2020 shine brightly in a 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. Connect if necessary, lie back, relax and let your eyes adjust. You don’t have to focus on any part of the sky, but the Orionids are so named because their paths appear to originate from the same common area of the sky as the constellation Orion and.
The absolute best time to search for Orionids in 2020 is probably in the early morning hours before dawn on October 21, but this rain is known for its elongated peak, so you should have a great chance of seeing some meteors if you get up a few early days before or after this peak date.
The moon will set before peak hours for morning viewing, so that’s another benefit this year. Enjoy the show and as always, please share all the great meteor shots you can take with me on Twitter @EricCMack.