2015 Orionid Meteor Shower: When is it, what is it and where can I see it?

Richard Chapman
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The Orionid meteor shower happens every year and is connected with Halley’s Comet; it's the debris from its most recent passage, back in 1986, hitting the Earth’s atmosphere.

The meteors are the debris left behind by Halley's Comet, which last whizzed past the Earth in 1986, and are the particles from that last passage that slammed against the Earth’s atmosphere, creating the shower.

The meteors seem to emerge from a “radiant” in the constellation of Orion – hence the name.

Although they are not as strong as the Perseids in August or Gemenids in December, if you are experienced in watching those meteor showers then this one is well worth having a look at.

Read more: In pictures: Geminid meteor shower

This year, the shower is predicted to reach its peak this week on 21-22 October, but activity should also be high a few days before and after the peak. The shower could be active the day before too – on Wednesday morning – but wind and rain is expected to spill in from the west across many parts of the country so not a great night for viewing.

But by Thursday morning, the rain clears away and it will be mainly dry. There will be some cloud but gaps should appear particularly for eastern Scotland, eastern England and perhaps southwest England.

If conditions are good you might see 20-30 meteors an hour but it can vary and be lower or higher than that.

A meteor appears as a short-lived streak of light. They flash across your field of vision and it’s normally so quick you don’t have time to point it out to anybody.

Livestream: Watch the Orionid shower here

No special equipment is needed to see the shower, just your eyes but you do need dark, clear skies. So make sure that you are away from any light pollution and that the sky is free from any cloud and rain.

This year we expect that there will great conditions to view the shower as there is no full moon which means darker skies.

It might be wise to take a deck chair for extra comfort and wrap up warm - it’s cold at this time of the year!

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