Angand a fantastic show from served as a starting point for the Orionid meteor shower, which is now active and visible.
Orionids is considered to be a major meteor shower based on the number of visible meteors that can be seen racing towards the inevitable end of its active season, which almost runs from the first week of October to the first week of November.
The show is already active and the American Meteor Society estimates that a small meteor per hour could be seen over the next several days, leading to a peak on October 20 and October 21, when the number could rise to 20 per hour.
Orionids are just pieces of dust and debris left over from the famous Comet Halley during previous trips to the internal solar system. As our planet moves into the comet detritus cloud each year at this time, all cosmic gravel and grime explode in our upper atmosphere and burn on a display we see on earth as shooting stars and even the occasional fireball.
Orionids may describe the old phrase “blink and you might miss it” as they enter our environment at a very fast speed of approximately 147,000 miles per hour (66 kilometers per second). That said, a fair amount of these meteors leave recurring paths that take several seconds. Some even fragment and break up into a more spectacular fashion.
2020 Perseid meteor shower pictures are bright in a dark year
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To catch the show, the advice is the same for all celestial events viewers: Find a place away from light pollution with a wide open view of the night sky. Bundle as needed, lie down, relax and let your eyes adjust. You do not have to focus on any part of the sky, but the Orionids are named because their paths appear to come from the same general area of the sky as the constellation Orion and the.
The absolute best time to search for Orionids in 2020 is probably in the early morning hours before dawn on October 21, but this shower is known for an extended peak, so you should have a good chance to see some meteor if you get up a few days before or after the top date as well.
The moon is set before the peak time of the morning view, so that is another endeavor this year. Enjoy the show and as always, please share any great meteor shots you can get with me on Twitter @EricCMack.