Today and tomorrow eyes in the sky for the Orionids, the falling stars of autumn

Today and tomorrow eyes in the sky for the Orionids, the falling stars of autumn

Clearly visible after midnight, the Orionids will peak this year between 21 and 22 October next, with about twenty shooting stars per hour

(Photo: Getty Images) October is full of astronomical events: waiting for the second full Moon of the month, called Blue Moon, which will rise on October 31st, as every year, the Orionids, the falling stars of autumn, return on time to illuminate the autumn skies is expected between 21 and 22 October, with about twenty shooting stars per hour. And this year the show is guaranteed: weather conditions permitting, in fact, the absence of the Moon will further improve their observation. Ready to enjoy the show? Here's how.

The Orionids, very close relatives of the Eta Aquarids, are shooting stars originating from the particles lost by comet Halley, during old close encounters with the Sun. When the Earth, following its orbit around the star, meets their wake, these particles whiz at about 66 km / s in our atmosphere disintegrating and giving life to the famous and spectacular bright and colorful queues, which can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Their name is due to the constellation of Orion, their radiant, that is the celestial point from which they seem to come and which helps us to understand which direction to look.

But how to best observe them? "They will be clearly visible after midnight, when the radiant north of Betelgeuse will be higher on the horizon", explain the experts of the Italian Amateur Astronomers Union (UAI). "Between 18 and 23 October the Earth encounters in its motion areas more or less dense with meteoroids so that the Orionids do not have a single maximum, but from year to year a series of frequency variations generally higher than 20-30 meteors / h ". Furthermore, the Moon will be absent, and will therefore make the study and observation of the Orionids truly optimal. This, the experts explain, "will allow any type of study: in the visual on the hourly frequencies and on the distribution of brightness, in the photographic and video domain on the position of the radiant".

In order not to miss the spectacle of the Orionids, remember NASA, you have to go to a place far from the city lights and bring a warm sleeping bag and a lot of patience, since the show will last until dawn . But also a comfortable chair: once seated, in fact, we will have to make sure that our feet are pointing south-east (if we are in the northern hemisphere, while north-east for those in the southern one) and wait just under 30 minutes for our eyes to get used to the dark and will be ready to hunt for shooting stars.

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