Seven years’ work
As well as the image’s beauty, NASA honoured the effort that went into it. Petr spent seven years working on it, on and off. “Orionids are remnants of the famous Halley’s Comet, which won’t return until July 2061, but this meteor shower around October 21 is an annual reminder of the comet. It’s not half as visible as the better-known Perseids – only around five meteors per hour appear in the sky at our country’s latitude. And my only window for taking pictures is a few days around the maximum. Everything depends on the weather, and clear skies can be a problem in October,” Petr says, explaining why the image took so long to create.
Waiting for the right moment
What’s interesting is that the photographs don’t all come from one place. The reason for this is the varying weather situation during those seven years, which made it necessary for Petr to keep moving. “The resulting photograph is a collage of a whole series of time-lapse images of the night sky from several places in Czechia and Slovakia, plus a panoramic image of the landscape, which in this case is the Prešov volcanic hills region. I took the landscape photograph at the time of the Orionid maximum in October of the pandemic year 2020,” Petr lets on. The resulting image shows 47 meteors in total, as well as a clear image of Mars.
This unique image of the Orionid meteor shower took seven years to create and was shot at various locations in Czechia and Slovakia, depending on the weather. When finishing it, Petr Horálek was helped by an all-electric Enyaq iV, and the effort paid off: the image was published by NASA on 28 October 2022, making it Petr’s 35th prestigious Astronomy Picture of the Day. (Click on the image to see it better.)