- Austin Schmid / Unsplash
Over the weekend, the sky will be lit with a natural light show – provided it isn’t too cloudy.
The Orionid meteor shower will come into sight for those of us in the UK just before dawn on Saturday October 21. That’s before 6:59 a.m.
You should be able to see the Orionid shower after midnight every night this weekend, and it has actually been visible for the whole of October. You’ll get the best view on Friday night, though.
No equipment is needed, as the flying fireballs will be visible to the naked eye, so all you need to do is look up. If you’re lucky – and you’re in a dark spot – you might see up to 20 meteors every hour.
The meteors are created by space debris.
The meteors are thought to have originated in the star constellation Orion the Hunter, created by debris from Comet Halley.
When a comet flies too close to the sun, the ice on its surface boils and particles of ice and dust are released into space.
Earth attracts this debris with its gravitational field, and when it rubs against air molecules it burns up, giving the fiery streak effect through the sky.
It takes the comet Halley 76 years to make it all the way around Earth, so it will next be visible in the year 2061.
If the sky is too cloudy tonight, or you live in a particularly light polluted area, you might not get too clear a view of the shower. However, NASA is here to help with a live stream of the event starting at 3 a.m. on Saturday BST.
You’ll also see the planet Jupiter, and constellations of Orion, Gemini, and Taurus.