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Shooting Stars From Halley's Comet To Be Visible In UK Sky Tonight



If you're into your stars and space, you're in luck this weekend, because the Orionid meteor shower is making an appearance.

It happens once a year and the show will see trailed meteors aka shooting stars light up the sky. They're so bright that you can see them with the naked eye, so no need for any fancy equipment.

Meteor showers occur when bits of debris from asteroids and comets come free and fly through the sky. They hit the atmosphere at extremely high speeds of about 41 miles per second (that's pretty fast), and then burn up, which creates the shooting star look.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The Orionid meteors are made of material from the famous Halley's Comet. It orbits the sun on a 75 year cycle, but bits of it are scattered along the router. Every October or November, Earth passes through it.

Meteor showers are when debris chunks from asteroids or comets soar across the sky.

The Royal Observatory Greenwich says: "The Orionid meteor shower is one of the best known and most reliable meteor showers in the annual calendar, visible from across the globe.

"Some people view the shower as extra special as the meteors are actually pieces of Comet 1P / Halley, famously known as Halley's comet.

"The famous comet swings by the earth only once every 75 to 76 years but this annual shower provides some compensation for those who may miss that once in a lifetime event.

Given they are on cyclical orbits, meteor showers are easy to predict, so we know when the best times to see them are.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

This year – Orionids will be visible from October 16 to October 27, but the best time to see them is October 21 and 22 when they're at their peak.

It's worth having a look at Sunday night or before dawn tomorrow morning. Also, using an app like Night Sky on your phone can help you track them down. There really isn't a great place to look like this, but getting away from built up areas and finding wide open spaces is helpful, as is, obviously a clear sky.

They'll leave a trail for a few seconds so you should find it easy enough to spot them.

Wrap up warm and take a hot drink though – temperatures are expected to drop as low as two degrees tonight.


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