Orionid meteor shower set to peak across Europe: Will you be able to see it?

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
October 21, 2018, 8:58:55 AM EDT

One of the most famous meteor showers of the year is set to reach its peak this weekend as the Orionids will be visible in the night sky.

The meteor shower is created by particles from Halley’s Comet, which Earth passes through twice a year, according to Space.com.

As these comet particles enter Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up and glow, creating the shooting star effect.

Meteor Europe Sun 10-22-18

While the meteor shower will produce around 20-25 meteors for viewing each hour, we will be approaching a full moon, which will create extra light in the sky.

Despite the less-than-ideal lunar conditions, if you can find a good spot away from city lights and with a clear sky, it will be one of the biggest shows of the year.

The peak viewing will begin around 2 a.m. on Sunday night and Monday night and continue until sunrise. You will want to give yourself at least 15 minutes in the dark for your eyes to adjust before having optimal viewing. The viewing will be most optimal after the moon sets in your location.

Meteor Shower Earth Orbit

The other issue will be dealing with pesky clouds, which could prevent you from seeing most or all of the meteors depending on where you will be viewing them.

Northern and southeastern parts of Europe will be most at risk for a reduced view of the meteor shower on Sunday night as thick clouds hover over parts of Scandinavia and the Baltic states.

Rain will fall at times, with snow in the mountains, from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland into the Baltic states adding another negative for hopeful viewers. A few brief showers could also stretch from northern Germany to far northern France later in the night.

Good to fair visibility is in store for much of the British Isles on Sunday night. Most of the area will be dry, but odd showers may dampen northern Scotland and South East England.

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If you are looking for ideal viewing, the best bet will be across most of France through Poland.

While these areas can expect the least amount of clouds, temperatures will fall quickly after sunset, so by the time of peak viewing, you will want to be prepared with a coat and a blanket in addition to warm clothing.

Rain and clouds will limit viewing across most of the Balkan Peninsula. The same can be said for central and southern Italy, while some clouds may spill over other parts of the country.

The western and southern Iberbian Peninsula will be at risk for showers and view-obstructing clouds, while northeastern Spain enjoys clearer skies for the show.

It will be mild during the evening for skygazers, but those outside later at night will want to have a fall jacket.

If the weather doesn’t allow for viewing in your area during the peak of the event, don’t give up, as at least some meteors will be visible each night through Oct. 29.

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