Orionids meteor shower: how to watch it peak in the UAE tonight

Favourable Moon and weather conditions should mean one of the brightest celestial events of the year on Friday night

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The Orionids meteor shower is expected to be highly visible in the UAE this week.

About 10 to 20 meteors per hour will be shooting across the skies late on Friday and into the early hours of Saturday.

Most meteor showers this year in the UAE have been difficult to see due to the Moon’s illumination or unsuitable weather.

But this latest celestial event will be the brightest one yet as the Moon’s reflected light will only be at 17 per cent when it rises at 2.24am on Saturday.

It will also be in its waning crescent phase, meaning it will be shrinking.

How to watch the Orionids meteor shower tonight

It is recommended to observe the showers away from light pollution. Visibility will also depend on cloud cover. Forecasts so far suggest conditions are in favour of seeing the meteor shower.

The Orionid meteors are leftovers from the 1P/Halley comet and travel at a speed of 66 kilometres a second.

“The Orionids, which peak during mid-October each year, are considered to be one of the most beautiful showers of the year,” Nasa said.

“Orionid meteors are known for their brightness and for their speed. These meteors are fast — they travel at about 148,000mph [238,000kph] into Earth's atmosphere.”

When is the next space event?

Meanwhile, on October 25, a partial solar eclipse will be visible in the UAE.

It will reach its maximum at 3.52pm when 35.4 per cent of the Sun’s surface will be covered by the Moon.

Solar eclipses are celestial events that take place when the Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned either partially or completely.

The Moon blocks light from the Sun and casts a shadow on Earth, with the eclipse visible to anyone within this shadow, the European Space Agency says.

It is important to wear protective eyewear to observe a solar eclipse safely, as exposure can cause retinal damage. Sunglasses do not provide adequate protection.

Updated: October 21, 2022, 12:00 PM