Celestial fireworks: Meteor shower to light up midnight skies

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2019 10:36 AM | Updated as of Oct 21 2019 12:29 PM

An astronomer uses a laser pointer to show the radiant of the Orionids at an observatory near the village of Avren east of the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009. The Orionid meteor shower occurs each year as a result of Earth passing through cosmic dust released by Halley's Comet. The radiant of the Orionids is located near the constellation Orion. Petar Petrov. AP

MANILA — The Orionids, considered one of the most beautiful meteor showers, will peak on Monday and Tuesday night, astronomers said.

These meteors are fast, whizzing 66 kilometers into the Earth's atmosphere, and can leave glowing "trains" or incandescent bits of debris that last for several seconds to minutes, according to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The Orionids meteor shower will be active from October 17 to 25, with their traditional peak nights falling on Monday and Tuesday, said state weather bureau PAGASA.

"At maximum rates, the shower may reach 15 meteors per hour that may be observed at favorable sky condition," PAGASA's Space Sciences and Astronomy Section said in an advisory.

The Orionids are visible during the hours after midnight, said NASA.

To best see the celestial fireworks, find an area away from city or street lights and lie on a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair, before looking up and taking as much of night sky as possible, advised the space agency.

It may take 30 minutes before the eyes can adapt and begin to see the meteors, it added.

"Be patient -- the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse," NASA told skywatchers.

Meteors come from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids, which crumble into fiery and colorful streaks when they collide with the Earth's atmosphere, said NASA.

The Orionids are space debris from Halley's Comet, which takes about 76 years to orbit the sun. It was last seen by casual observers in 1986 and would not enter the inner solar system until 2061, NASA said.