Skygazers will get an “extra special” glimpse of the tail end Halley’s comet, which was last visible from Earth in February 1986, as Earth passes through an area of space littered with its debris.Tomorrow night’s sky will feature up to 20 meteors every hour that are remnants from Halley’s comet deposited in the solar system decades ago.
The activity is part of the annual Orionid meteor shower and will be seen all over the Earth, with most people in the UK getting the chance to view the phenomenon thanks to dry weather and clear skies.Halley’s comet is the only known short-period comet that is visible to the naked eye and seeing it is described as a “once in a lifetime” event because it only passes the Earth every 75 to 76 years.
The background of Halley!
Named after the British astronomer Edmond Halley who first predicted its arrival in 1758, the comet is featured on the Bayeux Tapestry after it is said to have appeared shortly before the 1066 invasion of England by William the Conqueror, who believed that the comet heralded his success.
The meteoroids from the comet will strike the Earth’s atmosphere tomorrow night at 148,000mph, burning up in streaking flashes of light. The Royal Observatory Greenwich described the fiery activity as “compensation” for those who may miss the comet’s next appearance”.
The Orionid meteor shower is one of the best known and most reliable meteor showers in the annual calendar, visible from across the globe,” a spokeswoman for the Royal Observatory Greenwich said”.
Some people view the shower as extra special as the meteors are actually pieces of Comet 1P/Halley, famously known as Halley’s comet”. The famous comet swings by the earth only once every 75 to 76 years but this annual shower provides some compensation for those who may miss that once in a lifetime event.”
The Orionid meteor is active throughout October but is expected to peak at around 11:30pm on October 21.
“You need a dark sky and a lot of patience in order to see the comets,” Rob Jessel, from the Royal Astronomical Society, said. “I would advise people to wrap up warm, head away from the cities, lie down staring up at the sky and don’t use telescope or binoculars. In fact, they are probably quite unhelpful as you need to be looking at as much of the sky as you can.”
This article is republished here with edited title and was originally published on The Telegraph.