Hello my gem(and space) enthusiasts! As you may remember from my last post, this is a very special week, because the sky is being splattered with balls of fire from the constellation known as Orion. The Orionids Meteor Shower has been enchanting the sky for over 200 years and it is known to last a full week, including a peak day when the most meteors can be seen. Even though the peak date of October 21 has past, lets review some interesting trivia about the Orionids.
When Halley’s Comet passes by the sun on its 75-76 year orbit, bits off ice melt away from the comet, allowing rock particles to separate. This process is the origin of the Orionids Meteor Shower. It’s almost like seeing little baby versions of Halley’s Comet dart across the sky!
The Orionids are speedy little fire-balls that topple down to earth’s atmosphere at nearly 150,000 mph. Due to their lightning-fast speed, these meteors can leave trails of light behind as they shoot across the sky. At the meteor shower’s peak time, one can expect to see up to 20 meteors per hour. On October 20 there were 15 meteors reported by SpaceWeather.com. Despite threats of a too-bright moon and pesky clouds, the Orionids stood up to its competitors and put on quite the show.
If you did not catch the Orionids Meteor Shower and you just cannot wait a year to see a few shooting stars of your own, do not fear! Debris from Halley’s Comet produces another annual meteor shower in May called the Eta Aquarids.
Stay tuned for information about the upcoming hybrid solar eclipse, which will happen on November 3 and the following day will bring the Taurids Meteor Shower. The Taurids is not quite the meteor-making machine that Orionids is, but it is still an excellent excuse to star gaze. Are you looking forward to any space related events in the upcoming months? Be sure to post any pictures or experiences of the Orionids Meteor Shower and come back on Friday for our weekly gem!
*Star gazing tip* If you are in a light polluted city, try to escape to a dimmer setting so you can score the best star gazing seat in the house!
Have a fantastic week everyone!
Love Intern BB