Like I mentioned last week, this past weekend was light struck by Halley’s comet offsprings in a dazzling feast for the eyes and spirit. The debris from the famed comet, which last visited Earth in 1986, helps produce up to 25 meteors per hour during the Orionid meteor shower. Thus, those lucky enough to be out of the city and with a clear night’s sky have been most certainly happy and grateful for this opportunity. Some have been even luckier and caught glimpses of hurling meteors slicing the sky on photo and film. If you’ve missed this year’s Orionids meteor shower, here are some of these most amazing photos I could find on the web. If you have some of your own or would like to share other photos of this weekend’s Orionids, please feel free to send some our way.
Since last Sunday, Halley’s comet offspring have been swirling through the night sky delighting star gazers all around the world. This coming weekend, however, the Orionids will be at their peak and full splendor – your definitely don’t want to miss it!
This time of year, the moon sets at about midnight, which offers more time for catching shooting stars in the darkness. This couldn’t come at a better time for the Orionid meteor shower, which will reach its peak activity in the post-midnight hours of October 21 and 22. Predicting the moment or even the hour where the highest density of meteor debris will enter Earth’s atmosphere is an extremely difficult feat for astronomers, but all the better. It’s the perfect pretext for you and your friends or family to lean back and enjoy the spectacle all night long. Enthusiasm is a great fuel for burning the midnight oil in expectation of the night sky climax.
The shower originates from the Halley comet, and has its name from the constellation in the sky where it’s easiest to spot – Orion the Hunter. The meteors are particularly fast – swirling at up to 66 kilometres per second – and can be spotted in a yellow or green color, depending on atmospheric conditions. Anyway, be sure to leave the city and head from a spot where the skyline is clear – you don’t need any telescope to enjoy this awesome astronomical event. Just a fine dispositions and great company.
Another meteor shower draws nearer, as scientists expect it to peak this Friday and Saturday – just before dawn on Oct. 21 and 22. Each October, the Earth passes through a trail of dust left behind by the Halley comet; when some of these particles, most no bigger than grains of sand get caught in the atmosphere, they ignite, creating the wonderful spectacle watched by sky gazers all over the world.
The name, Orionids, comes from the fact that the meteor shower seems to emanate from the Orion constellation; this year, they promise to be extremely spectacular, which is exciting especially because so far, this year hasn’t been great in terms of sky shows. The Perseids in August were blocked by a full moon, while the Draconids have been spectacular, but they could be seen in only a handful of places across the globe. There’s even more bad news, as the Leonids meteor shower in November will be (at least partially) obstructed by the moon as well.
“The moon has just decided to wash out the meteor storms this year,” Yeomans said. “They are a subtle phenomena and you really need a dark sky. A bright moon nearby really ruins the show.”