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Orionid Meteor Shower 2016: Things to know about the stargazing event

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Fans of cosmic events all around the world are in for a treat as the Orionid meteor shower will light up the sky in the next few weeks with residual chunks of Halley’s Comet will produce up to 25 shooting stars an hour tonight and into the weekend.

Debris from the comet will produce an amazing meteor shower this week and it will be visible across many parts of the world if the weather is kind. The event is a massive date in any stargazer’s calendar.

What is the Orionid Meteor Shower?

The Orionid meteor shower is one of the two meteor showers produced by debris from Halley’s Comet while the other meteor shower is the Eta Aquarids in May, according to NY Times.

The last time Halley’s Comet became visible on Earth was on 1986, but pieces of glowing space rock can be seen every autumn when the comet’s orbit intersects with the Earth.

The amazing meteor shower is created when pieces of the comet disintegrate nearly 60 miles up in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Will I see Halley’s Comet?

Halley’s Comet last entered the inner solar system in the early 1986 and it will take a few decades for it to orbit closest to the sun again on July 2061. The comet takes 76 years to make a complete revolution around the sun.

When can I see the Orionid Meteor Shower?

The best time to see the Orionids is tonight Thursday, October 20 as it reaches its peak and on Friday, October 21. It will be visible again until November 7 and the best time to view them is between midnight and into the early morning with 1am to 3am as its peak hours.

Where can I watch it?

There is no specific place to go as it will be visible everywhere if the sky is clear and the weather will be kind. But in general, they become visible in very dark skies so it will be best to stay away from places that have strong lighting.

What can I expect during Orionid Meteor Shower?

The Orionid meteor shower are tiny pieces of rock and ice which fell off Halley’s Comet and burn as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Around 15-20 meteors will make the sky across every hour, according to astronomers. So, expect a spectacular cosmic fireworks display.

The Met Office issued a statement and it said, “Orionid meteors are known to be very fast travelling at around 41 miles per second, and typically on the faint side, although with clear, dark skies you still have a good chance of spotting one with its persistent, long trail.”

Photo Courtesy: Asim Patel/wikipedia

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