Written by Bryce Getchell | @Porkfryedbryce
If you noticed any bright streaks across the sky last week, you’re not alone. Meteors zipped across the night’s sky as we passed through the trail of Halley’s Comet.
Before you jump out of your seat and freak out on the chance that you may have missed your one opportunity to see the world’s most famous comet, I can reassure you that you did not miss Halley’s Comet. In fact, it will be another 45 years until we see Halley’s Comet once again.
While we may not see the comet anytime soon, the Earth does pass through its long trail twice a year. During these times we see an increase of meteors as they fly by the Earth. On Thursday the 20th of this month, stargazers gathered from all around to experience the Orionid meteor shower. During the peak of the shower, an average of 15-20 meteors could be seen per hour.
For two more days there was an increased amount of meteors that can be seen in the sky.
The comet’s trail is quite large and it will take the Earth a while to pass through. While the shower was over a week ago, that does not mean that we can’t expect to see any more meteors. The peak of the shower is over and the light that is casted off of the Moon will block our view of the meteors for now. But the Moon is currently waning and is casting off less and less light each night. We can expect the meteor shower to continue until November 7th, so there is a chance that more meteors can still be seen.
The Orionids can be seen from all over the world. The meteors emanate from the Orion constellation and stream across the sky. If you are interested in the slim chance of seeing a straggling meteor, there are a few things you can do:
1. Find a location where you have a good view of the open night’s sky with very little light that may make it harder to see. The best spots are illuminated only by starlight.
2. Do not focus on the Orion Constellation. While the meteors may begin there, they are moving away from the constellation, so your chances are better if you look in the wide area surrounding it.
3. Know that the meteors can appear from anywhere. Those with longer tails will most likely be seen far away from the constellation.
4. Get comfortable and allow your eyes about a half hour to adjust to the darkness. Don’t stress if you don’t own a telescope or binoculars, in this case you have a better chance of seeing them with your naked eyes.
5. Don’t get discouraged. These meteors are very bright, yet move very very fast. They travel at a relative speed of around 148,000 mph. If you don’t see any, you will have another opportunity next year.
The Orionid shower appears each year around October and November. To learn more about these Orionids and Halley’s Comet, check out space.com and continue to follow Upportunityu as we bring you the latest in space exploration.