Here’s how to see the Orionids meteor shower and shooting stars where you live tonight

Monday, 21st October 2019, 3:06 pm
Updated Monday, 21st October 2019, 5:07 pm

Stargazers and fans of astronomy are in for a treat tonight (Mon 21 Oct), as they’ll get the chance to watch a meteor shower known as the Orionid.

A shower of up to 20 visible meteors per hour is set to be at its height tonight and tomorrow night.

Orionids are a type of meteor that are particularly active in October, and tend to peak around the 21 and 22 of the month.

The shower has been taking place since 2 October and will continue until 7 November, however now is the best chance you’ll get to see a shooting star.

The phenomenon - which is caused by dust from Halley’s comet - will be the second meteor shower of the month, as the Draconids usually peak around 7 or 8 October.

Halley’s comet takes around 76 years to make a complete journey around the Sun. It will next be visible from Earth in 2061.

How can I see the meteor shower?

A telescope is not needed to see the meteor shower, however visibility does depend on a clear night sky.

It gets dark now at around 9pm, and the meteors will be visible any time between midnight and dawn.

You need to find a secluded spot with minimal light pollution from street lights or traffic, and then the best thing to do is lie on the ground.

The shower is one of the only ones visible in both the northern and southern hemispheres. As the UK is in the northern hemisphere, you’ll need to lie with your feet facing southeast. Those in the southern hemisphere will lie with their feet facing north east.

It will take your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark, so you’ll need to be patient. Remember to wrap up warm if you are going out to see the meteor shower.