Meteor shower to occur tonight

KATHMANDU: The Orionid meteor shower caused by the Halley's comet will be visible from tonight until Saturday morning.

This meteor shower has been called the Orionid meteor shower as its source appears to be the Orion constellation. Since the time of the meteor shower is in the First Quarter Moon in the month of October, it will be visible from tonight.

The meteor shower can be seen from 10 pm today till 4.45 am on Saturday, said Suresh Bhattarai, president of Nepal Astronomical Society. He said the time after 12.45 am is best for viewing the meteor shower.

It is estimated that up to 20 meteors per hour can be seen when the meteor shower is at its peak. According to Bhattarai, this spectacle in the night sky is seen as the meteors dropping at high speed enter the Earth's atmosphere. The speed of the meteors can be up to 67 kilometres per second.

A comet releases dust and rock fragments when it reaches closer to the sun in course of its revolution and when the Earth, in course of its revolution round the sun, comes near the comet's orbit, the dust and the rock fragments left behind by the comet burn with bright illumination as they enter the atmosphere. This phenomenon is called meteor shower.

Another Orionid meteor shower is said to be visible in 2061.