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Spectacular Orionid meteor shower could be visible from Longford tonight

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Piel Isalnd and Meteor GRAHAM KIDD

Its [peak] could be within a day either side of this date and is most visible at midnight and a few hours before dawn.

The "shooting stars" are generated when the meteoroids from Halley's Comet strike Earth's atmosphere at of 148,000mph, (238,000kph), burning up in streaking flashes of light which can be seen with the naked eye. Budding astronomers and stargazers will want to mark their calendars for the peak of the Orionid meteor shower, which is coming up this weekend.

The particles come from Halley's Comet, which passes near Earth every 75 or 76 years.

The best time to see the Orionid meteor shower is around 1 or 2 a.m., local time, and meteors can typically be viewed until just before sunrise. The moon, which will be entering its first quarter phase starting Friday, already just a sliver in the sky, will have set before Orion even rises in the eastern sky.

The Orionid meteor shower is active throughout October, but the best time to see it will be this weekend, with October 22 the most opportune night.

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The meteors get their name from this constellation, because they originate near it; however, they can be seen across the entire sky.

Yes! The meteors which are part of Halley's comet, can cause fast, bright meteors during much of October. Scientists believe that the Orionids are on a 12-year cycle, which last peaked in 2006, when the shower was as strong as the Perseids.

Once you're outside, find the Orion the Hunter constellation. To maximize your viewing experience, escape from light pollution and head to the great outdoors.

For the best results, get up early and watch the shower in the darkest hours before dawn - but do not forget to give your eyes 20 minutes to adjust to the dark.

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