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Orionids 2021: where, how and when to enjoy one of the most unique meteor showers of the year

Although the rain of stars par excellence is the Perseids, the night sky has many things to leave us amazed. Tonight we have a good example of this. If the full moon lets us, of course. Welcome to the Orionids of 2021.

Why does the “Orionid shower” occur?

The Orionids, which are so named because the meteors “come” visually from the constellation Orion, are Largest Meteor Shower Linked to Halley’s Comet. The comet passes by our side every 76 years (the last time in 1986) leaving a trail of “debris” in the middle of space: those that originate this phenomenon by crashing into the atmosphere.

As Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Office of the Meteoroid Environment, explained, “you have to prepare for speed”. These meteoroids “pass through the Earth’s atmosphere traveling at around 238,000 kilometers per hour. Only the Leonids, which arrive in November, are faster ”than the Orionids.

And that’s crucial because, at those speeds, fast meteors have a tendency to explode in curious balls of fire that draw twisted incandescent lines that last several minutes. Those snails in the sky are the most striking thing in this meteor shower, so it is really worth going out into the field for a while and trying to see them in the sky.

When, where and how to see the Orionids

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Ashim Ayed

Between October 20 and 21, we will experience the peak of the Meteor ShowerAlthough, as always with these astronomical events, they can be seen for several nights. Current estimates say that, on average, you see about 25 to 30 meteors per hour. As I said, the key is to look for the constellation of Orion in the sky and the truth is that it is simple: its belt of three stars is very characteristic.

The big problem is that this year, the meteor shower coincides with a magnificent full moon and that will make it difficult to see the weaker meteors. That is why more than ever a good observation site is crucial. The recommendation is to be before clear skies and in areas with little light pollution. They are small towns or mountain areas (in this case, the high places facilitate the observation).

Either way, there will be more rains in the coming months, but as winter approaches the cold increases and the recommendation to “lie down and enjoy the show” becomes more difficult to follow. So it never hurts to seize the moment