Spectacular Orionid meteor shower could be visible from Longford tonight

Piel Isalnd and Meteor GRAHAM KIDD

Are you ready for it?

The Orionids have been visible since October 2 but the shower is set to light up the sky this weekend. The fact that we've recently had a New Moon also means that there's less light pollution to content with. Clouds will increase Friday night, making it hard to view.

For the best show, find a safe, dark place away from city lights.

It's actually been going on for most of October, and will continue through to the start of November, but the optimum time to witness something spectacular is from midnight tonight and before dawn tomorrow morning (pre 7am). From a dark site, you should be able to see 20-30 meteors an hour.

The annual event, which happens when Earth passes through debris from Halley's Comet, produces between 20 and 80 meteors every hour.

It'll be an awesome sight, as the brightness of Orionid meteors is rarely rivaled, according to Business Insider. Orion is in the southwest sky if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, or in the northwestern sky if you are in the Southern Hemisphere.

The meteors are called "Orionids" because from the perspective of Earth-based observers they appear to originate within the constellation Orion.

The meteor shower will be most active from 2am and 4am.

NYUP.com columnist and CNY Observers director Damian Allis said the best way to look at the shower is to "lie flat on the ground with your feet pointed towards Orion".

If you then look a bit to the left you'll see a very bright star, known as Betelgeuse.

That equates to roughly one shooting star every two and a half minutes, so it's best to get comfortable. Ultimately, the view from a higher vantage point, such as a hill or mountain, is best.

Lots of astronomers are looking forward to the 2017 Orionids because the skies are due to be particularly dark and clear this year, which should make them easier to spot!



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