If you are active on FB, you might have seen the alert on Orionids meteor shower. I went with 2 of my friends on 21st Oct night to see Orionids. Between 2AM and 4:30AM, we saw more than 30 meteors. All this time, my camera was looking at the sky clicking photos hoping to capture some of the meteors.
The next day, I scoured through hundreds of images and found meteors in 3 images. I combined these three images into one.
What are meteors? Many people might know meteors by the name “shooting stars”. On any dark and clear night, you can see at least a few shooting stars. Meteor showers are special days when you can see tens or hundreds of meteors in one night!
So what exactly are meteors? Meteors are sand-grain sized particles floating in space. Once in a while, they get attracted by earth’s gravity and fall towards the earth. But due to the friction with the earth’s atmosphere, they burn producing heat and light for a short period of time (a fraction of a second to couple of seconds). To the humans of the earth, they look like shooting stars.
What is the reason for meteor showers? Meteor showers are caused when earth passes through the debris left over by comets. When a comet comes close to the sun, the solar radiation melts the comet and pushes the comet’s material away from it. That’s how a comet develops a tail. Most of this tail is left behind by the comet as it revolves around the sun and goes back home. This left over debris will have dust particles of varying sizes.
As the earth continues its annual journey around the sun, on certain days of the year, it passes through the debris left over by the comets, attracts thousands of particles in the debris, which burn in the atmosphere as shooting stars.
The Orionids Meteor Shower is caused by the debris left behind by the famous comet Halley.
If you missed this opportunity, don’t worry. There are Leonids in Nov and Geminids in Dec. Geminids are my favorite. I have counted more than 200 meteors in a single night during Geminids.