October 20, 2023
BANGKOK – The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Narit) advises people to watch the skies on Saturday night for one of the most spectacular free shows of the year.
The Orionid meteor shower should be visible starting from 10.30pm on Saturday night through early Sunday morning, it said.
But the meteors will be brightest after 11.30pm when the moon has set and left the stage dark enough for the celestial performance to shine.
Narit said the phenomenon will be visible all over Thailand but stargazers are advised to seek out dark viewing areas free of light pollution.
The Orionid meteor shower streaks across Earth’s skies from late September to early November every year, peaking this year on October 21-22. Observers can expect to see up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak if skies are clear and dark.
The Orionids are caused by debris from Halley’s Comet, which passes through the inner solar system every 76 years. When the comet passes close to the Sun, it heats up and releases dust and gas particles. These particles spread out into a stream that the Earth passes through each year in October.
The dust particles collide with our atmosphere and burn up, creating the bright streaks of light that we see as meteors.
The Orionids are named after the constellation Orion because the meteors appear to radiate from a point near the constellation’s bright star, Betelgeuse.
Narit said skygazers would have the opportunity to snap spectacular photos of the meteor shower together with bright stars such as Sirius and Betelgeuse.
However, anyone who wants to see the comet itself will have to wait another 38 years before it next swings by the sun in 2061.