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Space and PhysicsAstronomy

This Weekend Could Be Your Last Shot To See The Orionid Meteor Shower

author

Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockOct 26 2018, 17:31 UTC

The Milky Way and a shower of Orionid Meteors shower on October 21, 2017, Thailand. tangkwaz/Shutterstock

Heads up, the Orionid meteor shower is in town for just a few more days. 

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This weekend could be your last chance to see the Orionid meteor shower of 2018, a celestial display that lights up the night sky through October each year. Its peak of activity has just passed, occurring on the night of October 20-21, but it is expected to be visible until October 29, according to Space.com

If the weather’s clear and the moonlight is too overbearing, you could see as many as 15 meteors per hour radiating from the constellation of Orion, hence their name. However, if you’re out searching the skies for meteors, don’t overthink things too much as they will essentially appear to come from all angles of the sky. Just try to get as far away as possible from any artificial light and allow your eyes to acclimatize to the low light for 30 or 40 minutes.

The “shooting stars” you see in the sky will actually be bits of debris originating from the comet 1P/Halley as they smash into our atmosphere at approximately 66 kilometers (41 miles) per second, NASA explains. The last time the comet (pictured below) made a journey past Earth was in 1986 and it won’t be seen in the inner Solar System again until 2061. Each time it passes by our galactic neighborhood it leaves behind a bunch of ice and rocky dust, which is currently coming into contact with our planet.

In 1986, the European spacecraft Giotto became one of the first spacecraft ever to encounter and photograph the nucleus of a comet, passing and imaging Halley's nucleus as it receded from the Sun. Halley Multicolor Camera Team/Giotto Project/ESA

Space and PhysicsAstronomy
  • space,

  • comet,

  • night sky,

  • Meteor,

  • Astronomy,

  • Orionid Meteors shower,

  • Halley comet

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