Orionid meteor shower – when, where and how to stargaze?

This year (2018), Orionid meteor shower is at it’s peak on 21-22 October. Here presenting to you the full guide to have a successful Stargazing night.

When, Where & How to See it ?

When : On 21-22 October , meteors will occur at the rate of 20-30 per hour. The best time to see it is after the midnight and before the dawn.

Where : It’s best to get a compass and a sky map. You can find many on internet. 

Tips to get Started with Stargazing.

 Tip number 1:

If you are planning to do it from  your balcony or terrace, let me say, its gonna be hard. Get away from city lights. Otherwise Light pollution will take away all your excitement. Take a 9-10 minute ride away from the city and get a spot under dark sky. 

Photo by Tyson Dudley on Unsplash

Tip number 2

It takes about 15-30 minutes for your eyes to adapt to dark. Be calm! and remain at one spot.

Tip number 3 :

Carry a red LED flash light with you. (red light because it disturbs your night vision the least.) 

Tip number 4:

Turn off your phones! Don’t have a look on your phone again and again as one look at white light can disturb your night vision and your eyes have to adapt to dark all over again.

so, keep your phones aside and just enjoy the beautiful universe.

Tip number 5 :

Try to find Constellations. It’s fun!

For Orionid Meteor Shower, look near the Orion constellation.

Orion Constellation

Image source : iconspng

Here’a a Checklist of things to carry.

  1. Red LED light
  2. Compass
  3. Food and water
  4. Your most comfortable blanket ( not that comfortable to let you sleep. kidding!)
  5. Woolens to keep you warm.
  6. Sky Map
  7. Binoculars (optional)
  8. A Big Bag of patience ( it’s super necessary)
  9. and last thing you need to carry is a little knowledge about meteor shower.

You should know what you are looking at. Right?

Why does Orionid Meteor Shower occur?

It occurs when Earth passes though an area of space littered  with debris of Halley’s comet

Halley’s comet has orbit between the orbits of Mercury and Venus . It is visible from earth every 74-79 years.

Debris means the very small broken pieces of asteroid or comet. ( accumulated together)

This very small pieces

(size of a rice grain) of rock when enters the earths atmosphere, heats up an glows; which we call Meteors. So shooting stars ain’t really stars.

They are meteors- meteoroids burning up.

What causes meteoroid to burn?

A big misconception is, meteoroid gets hot due to friction with air. 

whereas, greater contributor to their heat is compression.

Basic laws of physics tells us that if you compress the air , it heats up. 

Meteoroid is moving approximately at the speed of 70km/sec. and thus continuously compresses the air in front of it, it burns up and thus glows. 

Meteor shower occurs as streams of debris enter the earth atmosphere causing many meteoroids to radiate.

Image source : pixabay

Let’s make these 3 terms clear :

 Meteor : is a flash of light.

Meteoroid : small piece of rock broken off the comet or asteroid.

 Meteorite : If the meteoroid survives through the atmosphere and lands down to earth, it is then called meteorite.

And one last term 

Radiant : It is the celestial point in sky from where the meteors appear to originate ( from our perspective).

For Orionid meteor showers,  the radiant lies between the constellation Orion and Gemini.

So find this constellations and look up the radiant. 

And that’s it, you are now all ready for Orinoid meteor shower. Hope for Clear skies.

Stay Curious!

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