Orionids: Dust from Halley’s Comet to produce shooting star spectacle

Credit: David Lowndes
Credit: David Lowndes

Dust from Halley’s Comet is set to produce an amazing night-time spectacle in the skies.

The Met Office say the specatacle may be hampered by cloud cover but overnight tonight (20 October) and into Thursday morning, the Orionid meteor shower will reach its peak, producing an expected maximum of 20 shooting stars per hour.

The meteors can be seen from around 9pm onwards but will be most visible after the moon sets at about midnight.

Stargazers will have their fingers crossed for clear skies.

A Met Office spokesman urged residents to wrap up warm, go outside, lie back and look up.

The spokesman added: “To see the meteor shower, you don’t need a telescope, binoculars or any other equipment – all you need is your eyes.

“Find a spot away from bright lights and let your eyes get used to the dark – this will take about 15 to 20 minutes.”

“Orionid meteors are known to be very fast, travelling at about 41 miles per second, and typically on the faint side, although with clear, dark skies you still have a good chance of spotting one with its persistent, long trail.

“The Orionid meteor shower is named as such because it appears to radiate from the constellation Orion, which is one of the most visible and recognisable in the sky throughout the world.”