Orionid Meteor Shower 2017: When, Where & How to See It This Weekend

The meteor which passed over Cumbria

Orionid meteors are visible from anywhere on Earth and can be seen anywhere across the sky.

Tom Kerss, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: "The Orionids is a modest shower, producing around 20 meteors per hour at best under absolutely ideal conditions".

"The Orionids are known to be fast and on the faint side, but can sometimes surprise you with an exceptionally bright meteor that might break up into fragments", Byrd wrote in her blog.

As Earth passes through Halley's orbit, pieces of rock plunge into our upper atmosphere and burn up, causing handsome shooting star displays. Orion is the namesake because the meteors appear to radiate from north of Betelgeuse, one of the constellation's most well-known stars.

The Orionid meteor shower happens annually when the Earth ploughs through dusty debris from Halley's Comet, named after astronomer Edmond Halley, who determined the comet's periodicity and contributed to further knowledge of the solar system.

Although the number of Orionids can not rival the three major meteor showers of the year - the Quadrantids, Perseids and Geminids - they are known for consistency in intensity and convenience for observation, as they are both bright and positioned near the zenith, the museum said.

A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky above desert pine trees on August 13, 2015 in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Nevada.

According to Space.com, it could be helpful or just educational to find the shape of Orion the Hunter as you get settled for the show.

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For example, the crumbs from Halley's Comet are meteoroids.

The annual shower has been called "one of the most attractive showers of the year" by Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, and is a popular celestial event for stargazers everywhere. Go out around 1:30 a.m. and let your eyes adjust to the dark for about 20 minutes.

On October 19there will be a new moon, which means if you can get away from city lights it will be very dark. Most meteors disintegrate before making it to the ground.

Catch a live stream event at Slooh.com on October 21 and October 22. In 1705, then-University of Oxford professor and astronomer Edmund Halley published "Synopsis Astronomia Cometicae" ("A Synopsis of the Astronomy of Comets"), which showed the first evidence that the comet is reoccurring.

Why are these meteor showers called Orionids?

Orionid meteors usually fly between October 2 to November 7 each year.

The next perihelion (closet approach of Halley's Comet to the sun) is expected around July 2061.


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