Orionid Meteor Shower 2019: The Orionid meteor shower is an annual event which happens every year from October to early November, when the Earth passes through the stream of debris left behind by Comet Halley. The result is a beautiful astronomical event that can be seen without the help of any telescope.
This year, the Orionid shower will take place from October 15 to October 29. The peak time of the event will take place on three dates — October 21, October 22, and October 23 — , which means these are the best days to see the meteor shower.
The parent comet of the Orionid shower, Comet Halley, takes around 76 years to orbit the sun once and it sheds ice and rocky dust into space every time it returns to the inner solar system. When the Earth passes through this stream every year, the particles collide with the atmosphere of the planet and results in a meteor shower.
According to Earthsky.org, Orionids are extremely fast meteors and they enter the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of about 66 kilometres per second. Although the Orionid meteor shower is on the faint side, about half of the Orionid meteors leave “persistent trains” or ionized gas trails that last for a few seconds even after the meteor itself is gone.
Meteors showers are named after the point in our sky from where they appear to radiate. In the case of this particular meteor shower (caused by Comet Halley), it is called the Orionid shower because its radiant point is in the direction of the famous constellation– Orion the Hunter, which ascends in the east in the hours after midnight.
However, the shower streaks out from the radiant point in all directions so the Orionids appear in all parts of the sky. So there is not a fixed direction to look in order to see this meteor shower. It will be visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres and so people in India can also see it on the dates mentioned above.
The Orionid meteor shower is best viewed away from the city so that the lights do not interfere with the view in the sky. Since this meteor shower is a long term event, you will have a lot of time on your hand to see it. Just find a nice spot, face the sky and wait for the sky to turn dark.