Orionid meteor shower: Keep an eye out for meteors in the sky this weekend | ultragr

Orionid meteor shower: Keep an eye out for meteors in the sky this weekend

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If you’re looking for a spectacular show this weekend, look up to find the Orionid meteor shower shining brightly through Saturday and Sunday night.

The shower is expected to peak at 8 p.m. ET Sunday, but visible meteors are expected to streak across the sky all weekend at a rate of 10 to 20 per hour, according to EarthSky, and can be seen from all parts of the world overnight.

The best time to see a meteor will be in the early morning hours, when the radiant, or the point from which the meteors appear to originate — in this case the constellation Orion — is highest around 2 a.m. in any time zone. , but Dr. Ashley King, planetary science researcher with the Natural History Museum in London said the meteors will start to appear as soon as it gets dark.

This weekend the Moon will be in its first quarter phase and will set around midnight, according to the American Meteor Society. That means its luminosity will slightly interfere with the meteor’s visibility, King said.

“You’ll want to wait until the moon goes down,” he said. “Even if you’re in the city, you should be able to see a few meteors – it’s really just a case of watching the sky and being patient.”

For the best chance of spotting a meteor, King suggests going outside for at least 10 to 20 minutes before stargazing so your eyes can adjust to the low light. If possible, it’s ideal to get away from light pollution and find a spot with a clear view of the dark sky, King said.

The Orionid meteors come from one of the most famous comets, Halley, which is currently almost halfway through its 76-year orbit around the Sun. Although the comet will not appear in Earth’s night sky until 2061, it leaves behind a trail of debris that our planet passes through every year, giving rise to the Orionids.

In early May, Earth passes through another part of Halley’s orbit, resulting in a meteor shower known as the Eta Aquariids.

“What you’re seeing are tiny grains of cometary dust that are moving really fast,” King said. “When they enter the atmosphere, they heat up and vaporize, and you get that bright streak — and that’s what we call a meteor.”

The Orionids tend to be bright and fast moving, 148,000 miles per hour (238,183 kilometers per hour), according to NASA. Because of this high speed, the Orionids often leave long tracks in the sky — visual evidence of dust released by meteors as they heat up, King said.

Meteor showers can occasionally have an unexpected increase in meteor velocity. From 2006 to 2009, the Orionids saw an estimated 50 to 75 meteors per hour. American Meteorological Society. Normal rates are expected this year, but there is always the possibility of surprises, the organization states on its website.

“Not only are they spectacular — it’s exciting to see bright streaks across the sky, and it’s not something you see every day — but it’s a dust grain that formed over 4.6 billion years ago,” King said. “This is dust from the birth of the solar system.

After the Orionid peak, the hourly rate of visible meteors will begin to slow until the shower ends on November 22. If you miss the peak this weekend, there are still five meteor showers to catch. this year:

● Southern Taurides: 5.–6

● Northern Taurides: 11.-12. november

● Leonidas: 17.–18. november

● Geminids: 13–14 december

● Ursids: 21.-22. december

Three full moons remain until 2023, according to the Farmer’s Almanac:

● October 28: Hunter’s Moon

● November 27: Beaver Moon

● December 26: Cold month

Lunar and Solar Eclipses

On October 14, people in North, Central and South America could experience an annular solar eclipse. During this event, the Moon passed between the Sun and Earth, creating a “ring of fire” in the sky. It was the last solar eclipse until 2024.

However, a partial lunar eclipse will occur on October 28 and will be visible in Europe, Asia, Australia, parts of North America and much of South Africa. This eclipse occurs when part of the Moon passes into the Earth’s shadow, allowing the shadow on the Moon to be visible for a short time.

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