In addition to the Geminids of December and the Perseids of August, the most reliable of the annual "Shooting Stars" exhibitions are the October Orionids. Unfortunately, the Orionids will face a handicap this year. When the Orionid Meteors reach their peak on Tuesday morning (October 22), the Moon will be in the sky shortly after midnight, just after the last quarter. Therefore, his glare will hinder the observations in 2019.
The Orionid meteor shower normally lasts from 16 to 26 October. A couple of fast Orionids can appear at the beginning of October and one or two lingering Stragglers arrive late November 7th. The numbers observed by an observer usually reach a maximum of about 20 per hour when the conditions are clear and dark, and the shower point (called "radiant") near the border of the Orion and Gemini constellations is high in the sky ,
These meteors are known as "Orionids" because the meteors appear to fan out of a region north of Orion's second brightest star, the reddish-colored Betelgeuse.
Related: Orionid Meteor Shower 2019: When, Where and How to See It
Currently, the Orion constellation appears on our journey to the sun in front of us and has not yet fully risen over the eastern horizon until after 23:30 local summer time. These meteors are best in the morning at 5 in the morning. – Orion is then the highest in the sky in the south. Since Orion's famous three-star belt is above the celestial equator, the Orionids are among the few known meteor showers that can be equally well observed from both the northern and southern hemispheres.
Orionid meteors are usually a bit dark and not well visible from urban locations. It is therefore recommended to find a safe rural place to observe the best orionidic activity. Recent studies have shown that about half of all Orionids leave traces that last longer than other meteors of equal brightness.
After peaking on Tuesday morning, activity begins to decline slowly, falling to around five visible meteors per hour by October 25.
The Moon "Muscles"
Even though the Moon is now losing weight, it will adversely affect this year's Orionids. On the morning of the Orionid Maximum on Tuesday, it is in the constellation Cancer – a broad (40%) illuminated crescent moon that illuminates the sky with its light. Although the Orionids will be at their peak, a whole series of these stripes of light could be suppressed by the moonlight. Still, an exceptionally bright Orionid could still attract attention in the moonlight.
Probably the best plan for this year would be to try for about 90 minutes between 23:00 and 22:00. and 12:30 pm local time on the evening of the 21st Oct and one hour later the following night. This is approximately the interval between the rise of the radiation and the moonrise.
The Orionids are often referred to as the "Legacy of Halley's Comet." In fact, these tiny patches of dust are just the cosmic wastes that this famous comet has left behind in space on its orbit from earlier passages around the Sun. Meteoroids released into space are the remnants of the nucleus of a comet.
These particles – from copy toner to grains of sand – remain in spacecraft orbit. In the case of Halley's comet, its dirty debris trail is more or less evenly distributed throughout the orbit. When these tiny pieces of comets collide with the Earth, they become incandescent through friction with our atmosphere, producing the effect commonly referred to as "shooting stars" or "shooting stars."
The orbit of Halley's Comet approaches at two points in Earth orbit. One point is in early May, when a meteorite display called Eta Aquarids was produced. The other point comes in the middle to the end of October and produces the Orionids. Get out in the early weeks of this weekend before sunrise in the early next few weeks, and if you see a meteorite, chances are it's probably from the core of Halley's comet.
A long-awaited return
Halley's comet itself … The "Mother of All Orionids "should return to the inner solar system in midsummer 2061. In fact, the comet this year in the first week of August should be a very prominent showpiece in the western evening sky.
At the comet's last return in February 1986, the orbit between the sun, the comet, and our earthly point of view was the worst in two thousand years: the comet was on the other side of the planet sun, when it was the brightest, and as It was considerably darker a few months later when it was near the sun.
Related: Photos of Halley's Comets Through History
Like many who stared into the sky more than three decades ago to take a look at this historical celestial object, I was disappointed. But on its next return in 42 years, it will be more than three times closer and could very well turn into a spectacular sight.
Now the average life expectancy of an average American is about 79 years. So, if you were born in 1982, there is a 50-50 chance that you will still be there when the comet returns. And for those who were born in the years after 1982, these opportunities are gradually improving.
For older people like me, who were there long before 1982, we just have to settle for the Orionids as a consolation prize.
Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at the New York Hayden Planetarium . He writes for the Natural History Magazine the Farmers & # 39; Almanac and other publications on astronomy and is a meteorologist for Verizon FiOS1 News in New York's Lower Hudson Valley , Follow us on Twitter @SpaceTotcom and Facebook .