The Orionid Meteor Shower will create a dazzling display in the evening sky on October 21, 2015 - here's how to watch it.
2015 has already been a stellar year for meteor watching, and the action continues tonight with the Orionid meteor shower. According to a report from Gizmodo, the once-yearly meteor shower will create a stunning display in the night sky this evening.
The Orionid meteors are made from a familiar object in the solar system – Halley’s Comet. As the comet soars in a long, elliptical orbit around the sun, it leaves a long trail of dust and rock behind. Occasionally, this debris makes its way into Earth’s gravitational field and drops down through the atmosphere, burning up and streaking across the night sky.
While this year’s meteor shower is considered light, there will still probably be a great show. The Slooh Observatory predicts that there will be 30 meteors each hour during the peak of the shower, while NASA estimates that the peak will only reach a rate of twelve meteors per hour. The Perseid meteor shower, by contrast, peaked at a level of nearly 100 meteors per hour this August.
Despite the lack of actual meteors dropping through the atmosphere, viewers will still be able to see the constellations Orion and Gemini as the backdrop for the shower. Orionid meteors are fast too – they blast through the sky at nearly 150,000 miles per hour.
The meteor shower will start late on Wednesday night and continue into the early hours of Thursday morning. The best time to catch some shooting stars tonight is around 2am. Find a good dark vantage point and enjoy the show.