Orionid meteor shower lights up night sky – up to 25 meteors expected per hour | UK News

The skies will be lit by celestial fireworks tonight as Earth passes through the debris left by Halley’s Comet.

The Orionids are active throughout October, but are expected to peak Friday night.

The shower is expected to present a dramatic light show that could produce as many as 25 meteors an hour into the early hours of Saturday.

The phenomenon takes its name from the constellation Orion – one of the brightest groups of stars in the sky.

“One of the things that makes this meteor shower extra special to some people is that each meteor is a small part of Halley’s Comet,” said Jack Foster, public astronomy officer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

Meteoroids can travel through Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of 148,000 mph and appear as solid stripes of light.

Earth and Halley’s Comet cross each other twice a year due to their elliptical orbits around the sun. This creates the Orionids, as well as the Aquarids in May.

The Orionids will be observed in the northern and southern hemispheres until November 7th.

Mr Foster added: “This year’s Orionids will peak between midnight and dawn on 21 October with up to 25 meteors per hour.

“Showers will come from the constellation Orion, which will rise from the southeastern horizon shortly before midnight.”

For the best possible view, stargazers are advised to adjust their eyes to the darkness by avoiding artificial light as much as possible.

“You don’t need any professional viewing equipment to watch the meteor shower, just clear skies and warm clothes,” Mr Foster explained.

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