2017-10-19 / Front Page

Orionid meteor shower peaks Sat.

While the Comet Halley passed by earth over 30 years ago – last seen in 1986 – and won’t return for another 45 years give or take, mankind is still reaping the benefit as the earth will soon encounter a collection of debris left behind the orbiting mass, which is the production of the Ori­onid meteor shower.

The shower began on October 2 and will continue until November 7, however the estimated peak of the Orionids will begin before dawn on October 21. At the peak time, the heaviest shower is projected, and to make it better, officials have reported that there won’t be any moonlight to ruin the view of antici­pating onlookers.

The Orionid shower is an annual phenomenon, and has been named because of it appears to radiate from the location of the constellation Orion, a giant huntsman said to be set in place by Zeus himself accord­ing to Greek mythology, making the spray of streaking meteors all the more powerful and magnificent.

According to EarthSky’s Deborah Byrd, “You don’t need to know or be staring toward Orion to see the mete­ors. The meteors often don’t become visible until they are 30 degrees or so from their radiant point – and re­member, they are streaking out from the radiant in all directions. They will appear in all parts of the sky.

“However, if you do see a meteor – and trace its path backward – you might see that it comes from the club of Orion. And, if so, that meteor will be an Orionid. This year, in 2017, there is no moonlight to ruin the show! You might know Orion’s bright, ruddy star Betelgeuse. The radiant is north of Betelgeuse,” Byrd penned.

Most sky watchers are curious at the actual number of meteors they’ll see if they take the time to venture outside for an extended stint, to which Byrd further responded, “The word shower might give you the idea of a rain shower. But few meteor showers resemble showers of rain. The Orionids are a relatively mod­est shower, offering about 10 to 20 meteors per hour on a dark, moon­less night. In the coming weeks, when we’re nowhere near the peak of the shower, you can count on somewhere from none to a handful after several hours of observing. Even at their peak, meteor showers are more subtle than rain showers, and the Orionid shower isn’t as rich a meteor shower as, for example, the Perseids in August or the Geminids in December.”

Courtesy of NASA, a..live.broad­cast . of the Orionid meteor shower will be. available. via. Ustream. .begin­ning .

October 20, at 10 p.m.

According to officials, “the live feed is an alternative for stargazers experiencing bad weather or light- polluted night skies.”

To view the shower online visit www.nasa.gov.

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