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Orionid Meteor Shower to Peak on Oct. 20 to 21 -- Here's What You Need to Know

Oct 19, 2016 05:03 AM EDT
The Annual Perseid Meteor Shower From Bryce Canyon National Park
The Orionid meteor shower will peak on Oct. 20 to Oct. 21.
(Photo : Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The year is almost over but there are still plenty of celestials shows waiting to amaze the stargazing public like the Orionids meteor shower that will peak on Oct. 20 to Oct. 21.

The Orionids will be lighting the sky until November but the most number of shooting stars per hour can be seen on Oct. 20 to Oct. 21. The Orionids meteor shower is a popular phenomenon because the meteors came from the debris of Comet 1p also known as Haleys' Comet. The debris is caused when the comet orbits too close to the Sun. The Earth will pass through the comet's debris causing the remnants of the comet to collide with Earth's atmosphere and it turn will burn up and light the sky.

The meteor shower originates from the constellation Orion and like the Perseids meteor shower, it also occurs annually every October. Interestingly, Haley's comet also graces the Earth and is visible from the planet every 75 years.

The Orionids meteor shower will yield about 15 to 20 meteors or shooting stars per hour during its peak date. However, this is lower than the usual meteors count of 70 to 80 meteors per hour, according to a  report. The Orionids meteors also move faster than usual at about 148,000 miles per hour creating an interesting streak across the sky.

Read: October Skies: All the Planets, Meteor Showers, Events to Watch Out for this Month

"A good thing about the Orionids is that they tend to either have a double peak or a flat maximum, which means that you can see good Orionid rates for two to three nights," Bill Cooke, a NASA meteor specialist said in a statement. "So if you miss it one night, you can go out the next night and see them," Cooke added.

Most of the debris will burn out during its entry into the Earth's atmosphere, however, a small number of the meteor might also reach the surface of the Earth and create a non-devastating impact.

Those interested in watching the Orionids meteor shower will have to find the best spot away from light pollution in the city. Experts suggest that the best time to watch the meteor shower is during pre-dawn. The debris will originate from the constellation Orion and it will be helpful to look towards the said region found on the southeastern side of the sky.

One key landmark is the brightest star in the sky called Sirius. Experts say Sirius can be found almost near the horizon when tilting the head up.


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