This month Earth crosses the orbital path of comet trails promising dazzling night displays of shooting stars in the northern hemisphere – that is if you can get far away from city lights and in near total darkness.
If the night sky is clear and dark enough, you just might get a glimpse the Orionids or two other meteor showers.
On the evenings on Oct. 20 and 21 remnants of Halley’s Comet can be seen in the skies above Europe in what is known as the Orionids meteor shower.
So called because it appears from Orion’s club in the Orion constellation.
The peak of the Orionids shower is expected between midnight and dawn on Oct. 21, but astronomers warn the waning moon could be bright in the early pre-dawn hours, and as such, interfere with spotting the Orionids.The Orionids are known for being faint but they can sometimes streak quickly and brilliantly as they burn up in the outer atmosphere, around 100km above us.
The star show should be visible without the need for a telescope, but due to their typically long tail, clear weather should make them relatively easy to spot.
At its peak, observers may witness as many as 10 to 20 sightings an hour.
Alongside its expected peak, the Orionids lasts throughout the month and can be seen from Oct. 2 through Nov. 7.
The North and South Taurids
Although their peaks do not take place in October, the two Taurid meteor showers are long lasting and can be witnessed in October.
Known for having exceptionally bright fireballs, the North and South Taurids are unfortunately spread out and observers are lucky to count seven sightings per hour.
Together both showers last from Sept. 25 to Nov. 25.
The South Taurid’s peak is expected starting on the evening of
Nov. 4 until dawn of Nov. 5.
The North Taurid’s peak is expected to peak on the evening of Nov. 11 – 12.
Colloquially called as “Halloween Fireballs”, the two meteor showers take their name from the Taurus constellation.
When you find Taurus high in the sky and during the darkest hours of the night, you might be lucky to spot a few meteors.
Maximise your chances
There’s a few things you can do to get the best possible view of these meteor showers.
Firstly, make sure you’re as far away from artificial light as possible.
This might seem obvious, but even going to a slightly darker part of a big city can make a big difference.
Bring something comfortable to sit on. You’ll be looking up a lot, so being comfortable will help a lot.
Being relaxed will also help your eyes adjust to the dark, and therefore make it easier to see the celestial shows.
Don’t be tempted to use technology. Looking at your mobile phone or device will ruin your eyes’ ability to pick out lights in the dark.
Binoculars are also a bad idea.
They might bring you closer to the showers if you spot them, but by restricting the amount of sky you can see through them, you’re actually reducing the likelihood that you’ll manage to spot any meteors at all.