22nd October 2023, Mumbai: The Orionid meteor shower, which is visible from October 2 to November 7, is caused by debris left by Halley’s comet. Although the comet only comes around every 75 years (the next one will be in 2061), this annual spectacle lights up the night sky. The comet’s debris creates a spectacular display of flaming meteors as it approaches the Earth’s atmosphere at 41 miles per second. The shower is projected to peak on Saturday and produce 25 meteors per hour, which will be visible near the Orion constellation, especially before sunrise. To observe, select a dark, pollution-free location and allow your eyes to adjust for 45 minutes for optimal viewing, as recommended by NASA.
While Storm Babet may block views of the Orionid shower in the UK this weekend, it will stay in its maximum phase until next Saturday, and will be visible until November 7th.
According to Dr. Minjae Kim of the University of Warwick, “The Orionid meteor shower is a globally visible celestial event that takes place from 2 October to 7 November, with its peak occurring on the night of 20 to 22 October, typically between midnight and dawn.
“However, you can easily catch a glimpse of this meteor shower for several days before and after its peak date on your annual calendar.
“This meteor shower holds a special place in the annual calendar of celestial events, not only for its breath-taking beauty but also because it originates from the debris of one of the most renowned comets in history, Halley’s Comet (1P/Halley).
“So, if you have already missed the ‘once-in-a-lifetime event’ of Halley’s Comet, don’t worry, this annual Orionid meteor shower offers a unique opportunity providing some compensation.”
By Vaishnavi Rastogi