I can’t claim to be even an amateur astronomer (like Colonel Ken), but a meteor shower is something that we can all enjoy!
Everybody has heard of Halley’s Comet. If you were around back in 1986, perhaps you even got a glimpse. While we won’t get to see it again until the year 2061, every year we get reminded of its pass through our solar system in the form of meteor showers (the Aquarids in May and Orionids in October/November).
The meteor showers vary in intensity each year depending upon how much cosmic junk (dust particles) are in the path of our planet. Typically the Orionids are a pretty decent show, some of the fastest and brightest of the year, mostly because the Earth literally hits the comet’s dust trail head on.
The Orionids radiate from an area of the sky close to the constellation Orion. This time of year, that portion of the sky is most visible after midnight, close to 2 a.m.
The show will peak this weekend. If the weather is clear in your area, viewing should be great. Because there is a new moon, there won’t be any moonlight to dim the show. During the best years, the Orionids can produce more than 100 meteors per hour. Astronomers aren’t predicting anything quite that exciting this year, but 20-30 per hour is certainly possible. It looks like most of the Eastern United States will be pretty clear tonight.
Read more at Space.com