Orionid meteor shower to peak Tuesday

10/21/2019 07:06 PM
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Taipei, Oct. 21 (CNA) Stargazers in Taiwan will have a chance to catch the Orionid meteor shower when it reaches its peak Oct. 22, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said Monday.

While there is likely to be interference due to moonlight, spectators can expect to see more than 20 shooting stars per hour Tuesday night, if the weather permits, according to the museum.

The Orionids, which peak annually around mid-October, occur when the Earth encounters debris from Halley's Comet. They are known to be fast meteors and can sometimes become fireballs -- brighter-than-usual meteors -- that can even parallel the brightness of Venus, the museum said.

Fireballs also occasionally produce glowing "trains," a trail of incandescent pieces of debris in the wake of the meteor that can last up to several minutes. The museum said these meteor trains are worth observing, as they gradually change shape due to winds, before dissipating.

Another distinguishing feature of the Orionids, the museum said, is that the peak period lasts several days, so stargazers will be able to see meteor showers for a few nights before and after Oct. 22.

The museum suggested that stargazers go to areas where there is relatively little light, to increase their chances of seeing as many meteors as possible. The best viewing times are between 9 p.m. and midnight, according to the museum.

It also plans to live-stream the meteor shower on its website from a location on Fushoushan Farm in Taichung.

(By Liang Pei-chi and Chiang Yi-ching)


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