Will you be alive in 2061? If not, your only chance to see something of Halley’s Comet comes in both early May and late October each year when Earth moves through streams of particles the great comet deposited in the solar system in 1986.
As those particles hit Earth’s atmosphere they energise and glow for a millisecond, something that happens as many as 40 times per hour to create a meteor shower. That’s what is happening on Monday/Tuesday as the Orionid meteor shower peaks after midnight.
What has Orion got to do with this meteor shower?
Technically speaking, nothing whatsoever. The Orionid meteor shower gets its name from the constellation its shooting stars appear to come from—Orion the Hunter. Astronomers call this the “radiant point”, which more precisely is close to an open cluster of stars called Collinder 69. A lovely sight though binoculars and easy to see with the naked eye from a dark sky site, Collinder 69 can be found just above Orion the Hunter’s head. However, just look in the general direction of Orion’s Belt and you’ll see any shooting stars from the Orionid meteor shower.Today In: Innovation
When, where and how to see the Orionids?
Although it runs from October 2 through November 7, the night to watch for shooting stars from the Orionid meteor shower is Monday through Tuesday, October 21 and 22, 2019. The best time will be after midnight when your location will be on the nightside of Earth. A lawn chair or deckchair is perfect for watching meteor showers, though the best advice is always to wrap up warm and let you eyes adjust to the dark and just watch the night sky (in this case, look generally southeast towards Orion). Whatever you do don’t stop looking, and absolutely do not look at your smartphone. Its white light will instantly kill your night vision.