The Orionid Highlights Shine Through a Dark Year

Peaking in October, the Orionid meteor showers are one of the most beautiful showers every year. Meteors themselves come from leftover comet particles and small parts of broken asteroids. When comets orbit the sun, they emit dust that slowly spreads into a trail of dust following the orbit. Every year the Earth passes through these trails, which cause the debris to strike and enter our atmosphere, where they disintegrate and manifest as the iconic dazzling streaks in the sky. The space debris in our atmosphere that creates the Orionids originate from the comet called 1P/Halley. It takes about seventy-six years for Comet Halley to orbit the sun once, with the last casual observance in 1986 (That means you won’t have to worry about it until 2061!). Out of all the known comets, Comet Halley is one of the most famous comets and is also one of the least reflective objects in the system. The Orionids are not the year’s strongest nor stormiest showers, yet they are extremely fast with long lasting trains, which are trails of ionized gas. Furthermore, there is an especially great number of visible meteors that race toward the Earth during the active period (first week of October → first week of November). Courtesy of the name, they radiate from constellation Orion. The constellation name associated with a meteor shower is not the source of meteors but merely helps viewers verify which shower they are viewing. However, the meteors themselves are not visible until they are 30 degrees or more from their radiant point. They are visible anywhere on Earth, anywhere across the sky. Furthermore, they streak out in all directions so it really is just a matter of waiting. The best time to view the showers was before dawn on October 21st, but they have an extended peak into the 22nd through 25th. 

The Orionids. Trails originating from the same direction as Orion and the bright star Betelgeuse. Will you see them? 

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