On the weekends in search of towering stars, the Orionids arrive – space and astronomy

A weekend with an inverted nose for the arrival of the Orionids, the falling stars of the fall “girls” of the famous Comet Halley. The swarm will reach its maximum activity between October 21 and 24, when it will be possible to see up to twenty meteors per hour with the naked eye. The date is for the second part of the night, even if the weather remains unknown, with clouds and bad weather threatening the show especially in the skies of central northern Italy.

The Orionids are “one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year,” says astrophysicist Gianluca Massi, scientific director of the Virtual Telescope Project. Certainly less well-known than the falling stars of San Lorenzo (Perephagi), the Orionids have unparalleled charm because of their ‘ancestor’: the fabled Halley’s comet providing the dust grains needed to trigger this phenomenon. The most famous of these is the long-haired star. These days, Earth is close to the comet’s orbit, so it crosses its old, dusty tails.

“Orionids are very fast meteors, sometimes they are stationary and on these nights – continues Masi – you can see about twenty of them per hour, especially by observing in the second part of the night, under a dark sky. With the naked eye, no specific tools are needed: from By observing a large portion of the sky, the chances of catching trails increase.”

The swarm takes its name from the fact that the radiation (that is, the point from which the meteorites seem to come from their perspective) is located in the constellation Orion, one of the most beautiful constellations in the sky, more precisely on the border with the constellation. Gemini. “On these nights – the expert determines – the radian is located about 10 degrees east of the bright planet Mars, recognizable by its brilliant reddish light, between the horns of the bull. The radiation rises in the second part of the night. The moon, which has turned into a thin sickle, will interfere dramatically slight with notes.”

Orionid radioactive position (Source: Gianluca Masi, Virtual Telescope Project, produced with TheSkyX Pro)

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