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How to watch the Orionid meteor shower tonight, in person or online

The Orionid meteor shower will peak tonight, Saturday October 21, so if you’re lucky enough to have clear skies where you are, then you should head out after dark and look up at the sky for the chance to see this famous event.

Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through a cloud of debris, and pieces of that debris pass through the planet’s atmosphere and burn up, giving the appearance of bright trails of light in the sky. In this case, the debris the Earth will be passing through is left from Halley’s Comet, one of the only known comets that regularly passes by Earth and wthat can be seen with the naked eye.

Orionid meteors appear every year when Earth travels through an area of space littered with debris from Halley’s Comet.
Orionid meteors appear every year when Earth travels through an area of space littered with debris from Halley’s Comet. NASA/JPL

If you’d like to watch the meteor shower tonight, we have advice on how you can catch it either in person or online.

The ideal situation for viewing a meteor shower is to head out after dark and to get as far away from sources of bright light, like cities, as you can. You’ll also want to avoid looking at smaller light sources like your phone as that will affect your night vision. Set up somewhere comfortable, and give your eyes around 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness. As you look up at the sky, if there aren’t any clouds, then you should be able to see streaks of light as meteors come in, peaking in the hours just before sunrise.

As pointed out by, tonight should be a great time to view the shower as the moon is in its first quarter phase and will set before midnight, meaning there should be a better view of the faint lights from the meteors. To get the best view, aim to be looking up between around 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. And don’t forget to wrap up in warm clothing if you’re going to be out late and sitting still for a long period.

If you don’t have clear skies where you live, or if you don’t fancy braving the cold, then another option is to enjoy the event via live stream. Japan’s Subaru Telescope, located at Mauna Kea in Hawai’i, will be observing the event and sharing a livestream, which you can watch below:

Orionid meteor shower 2023/10/20 LIVE from Subaru Telescope MaunaKea, Hawaii

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Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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