In the early hours of Wednesday, October 21
Did you see Halley’s comet when it was last in the solar system in 1986? Also known as 1P / Halley, he is the next to return to our neighborhood in 40 years.
It is believed that this is the only comet with the naked eye that can appear twice in human life. Unlike Comet NEOWISE, which has not returned for 7,000 years.
He is also responsible for two annual meteor showers, one of which reaches its highest point next week – the meteor shower of Orionid.
Here’s everything you need to know about when to look, where to look, and what you’ll see if you go out looking for shooting stars this week.
What is the Orion meteor shower?
This is an annual meteor shower of medium strength, which occurs between October 2 and November 7, 2020. Expect between 10-20 “shooting stars” on the peak night, moving at a speed of 67 miles per second. It’s very fast. although Orionids tend to have long, visible ones trains“Stripes in the sky that can be seen in a second or so.”
When is the Orionid Meteor Show?
The peak – when the most activity is expected – will take place in the early hours of Wednesday, October 21, 2020. At this point, the new moon will be lit by 23%, so just a crescent, therefore, should not be a big problem in. The key viewing time is a few hours before dawn, according to EarthSky.
You can, of course, take a risk and look well before midnight – and you may notice some shooting stars – but the main activity will take place when the sky is darkest.
Why is it called the Orionid meteor shower?
Although caused by Halley’s Comet, the Orionids get their name from their obvious origin – their radiant point. This is within the constellation Orion, which rises east around midnight.
In particular, it is close to Betelgeuse, but “shooting stars” can appear anywhere in the night sky.
Where is Halley’s Comet now?
You won’t see Halley’s Comet until 2061, so don’t be afraid to look – it’s way, way, too gloomy – but know that its current position is in the constellation Hydra, the water snake. This is a complex constellation that you can fully understand, but if you look at the constellation Orion while waiting for shooting stars, look east and Hydra will rise.
So while Halley’s comet is not close to us at all at the moment – in fact, it is outside the orbit of Neptune – it lurks there in the same field of view as the radiant point of the Orionids.
Who was Edmund Halley?
An English astronomer born in 1656, Edmond Halley used Isaac Newton’s theories of gravity and planetary motion to calculate the orbits of comets. He predicts that comets not only make one trip through the solar system, but can make many trips back.
Based on reports of a bright comet seen in the night sky in 1532, 1607 and 1682, he predicted that it was the same comet and that it would return to the inner solar system in 1758.
He was dead right in many ways – he died in 1742 before he saw his work done.
What other meteor shower is causing Halley’s comet?
The flow of debris from Halley’s Comet caused the Orioni meteor shower, but it also caused the Eta Aquarids meteor shower in May. This is because it deposits meteoroids in the Earth’s orbital path both on its way and as it exits the solar system. The Earth crosses Halley’s Comet’s path around the Sun twice a year.
The meteor shower Eta Aquarids – known for fast-moving meteors and numbering about 10-20 per hour at its peak – will take place between April 19 and May 28, 2021 and will peak on the night of May 5, 2021.
When is the next meteor shower?
The next major meteor shower is the Leonids, which will peak in the earliest hours of November 17, 2020 in a dark moonless sky. Expect about 15 fast-moving “shooting stars” per hour for the Leonid meteor shower in 2020.
However, the one you need to prepare for is the Gemini meteor shower, the best of the year, which will peak early on December 14, 2020 and unleash up to 120 shooting stars per hour – and only a few hours before a precious amount of solar eclipse.
Wishing for a clear sky and wide open eyes.