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20th Oct 2023

Meteor shower set to brighten the sky this weekend with up to 25 shooting stars an hour

Joseph Loftus


Happy watching.

A beautiful meteor shower is set to light the night sky ablaze tonight (Friday 20 October).

The Orionid Meteor Shower takes place every autumn when the Earth passes through a stream of debris from Halley’s Comet.

This is to occur once again on Friday night and will see up to 25 shooting stars passing overhead every hour.

If you miss the celestial event tonight though, do not stress – as it can also be seen on Saturday night and during the early hours of Sunday in some parts of the UK and Ireland.

meteorA meteor streaks across the sky

In order to spot the Orionids, members of the public are advised to find a dark place away from light pollution such as streetlights.

The meteors are said to be so spectacular that they can be seen with the naked eye so there is no need for telescopes or even binoculars.

However, experts have encouraged skygazers to spend at least 20 minutes in the dark to allow their eyes to adjust to the darkness.

The incredible shooting stars are said to travel of speeds up to 41 miles per second.

But now for the bad news.

Given the awful weather over the past few days, sadly there will likely be a lot of clouds in the sky on Friday night.

Another issue is our lunar satellite, which will be a waxing crescent before becoming a half moon making its illumination close to 50%.

Both of these factors mean that this year’s conditions are not optimal for seeing the shower because a brighter moon and a lot of clouds will make the meteors harder to spot.

That said, even if the moon obscures the peak, the meteors will still be there.

So, if you look hard enough and manage to find yourself in a lucky location, there is chance you will see the shooting stars booming through the midnight sky.

Happy watching.

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