Science

Uranus, Orionids to light up weekend sky

Uranus, Orionids to light up weekend sky”

NASA estimates that at the event's peak on Friday night, viewers will be able to see as many as 20 streaks of light flying through the sky per hour.

Tom Kerss, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: "The Orionids is a modest shower, producing around 20 meteors per hour at best under absolutely flawless conditions".

The Orionids are set to peak this weekend, lighting up night skies with a dazzling display of streaking meteors, which - happily for space enthusiasts - can be viewed from anywhere on Earth.

The Orionid meteor shower happens annually when the Earth ploughs through dusty debris from Halley's Comet, named after astronomer Edmond Halley, who determined the comet's periodicity and contributed to further knowledge of the solar system.

Depending on where you are, there could be clouds in the night sky!

"The Orionids are known to be fast and on the faint side, but can sometimes surprise you with an exceptionally bright meteor that might break up into fragments", Byrd wrote in her blog.

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Between this time the showers will be at their brightest and most visible.

The comet returns every 72 years and was last seen from Earth in 1986.

But the shower's radiant point is mostly irrelevant because the meteors will shoot out in all sorts of directions, and usually remain unseen until about 30 degrees form the radiant.

Mr Kerss said: "There's no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope, your eyes are the best tool available for spotting meteors, so relax and gaze up at the sky, and eventually your patience will be rewarded".

For best success, try to get away from city lights; face the south-southeast and enjoy the stars of the fall Milky Way. The name comes from the constellation Orion from where the meteors appear to radiate.



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