Meteor shower tonight: Where to see tonight’s meteor shower: Orionids to light sky with 25 shooting stars an hour
This chance of showers won’t ruin your weekend.
Earthlings are in luck as one of the most awe-inspiring celestial events of the year will zip past the atmosphere shortly after midnight on Saturday morning.
What is the Orionid meteor shower and when is it happening in 2023?
The fast-moving Orionids, known for their fireball looks overhead, will be visible to much of the planet in the coming hours and are what NASA called “one of the most beautiful showers of the year.”
“These meteors are fast — they travel at about 148,000 mph (66 km/s) into Earth’s atmosphere,” the agency wrote, adding that up to 23 space rocks an hour can be seen.
“Fast meteors can leave glowing “trains” (incandescent bits of debris in the wake of the meteor) which last for several seconds to minutes…The Orionids are also framed by some of the brightest stars in the night sky, which lend a spectacular backdrop for these showy meteors.”
Although these meteors peak on Saturday, they will remain active until the week of Thanksgiving, just not as vibrant as this weekend.
Why are they called the Orionids?
The Orionids — named because they approach the Earth from the direction of the Orion constellation, specifically its brightest star Betelgeuse — are shards broken off from Halley’s Comet, which makes a pass around Earth every 76 years. Sadly, this is not a year to see Halley’s Comet itself — that comes in 2061.
Where can I see it?
Visibility for parts of the nation is also looking good for this one for Saturday night viewers, according to Fox Weather. New York will only be dealing with about 15% of cloud cover overnight while areas like Miami will have 4% and both Los Angeles and Atlanta will have essentially none at all.
Bad luck though for areas like Houston, Chicago, Seattle, and Bangor, ME, as their skies will almost be entirely obstructed by clouds.
As far as how to watch, these are some pro tips from the Space Agency.
“Find an area well away from the city or street lights. Come prepared with a sleeping bag, blanket, or lawn chair. Lie flat on your back with your feet facing southeast if you are in the Northern Hemisphere or northeast if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible,” NASA advises.
“In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Be patient – the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.”
While Betelgeuse is the focal or “radiant” point of the Orionids, it’s best not to look straight at the star.
“It is actually better to view the Orionids from 45 to 90 degrees away from the radiant. They will appear longer and more spectacular from this perspective,” NASA added. “If you do look directly at the radiant, you will find that the meteors will be short. This is an effect of perspective called foreshortening.”
The Orionids follow two recent space spectacles as last weekend the Sun, Earth, and Moon aligned for a total solar eclipse dubbed “the ring of fire” as only the sun’s far exterior was visible. In August, there was another meteor shower called the Perseids, which NASA described as the year’s best.
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