orionid meteor showerEvery year in mid to late October, Earth passes through a stream of dust which is debris from Halley Comet, and looking into the sky of dawn you can enjoy an amazing show of shooting stars.

Forecasts expect 25 meteors per hour on October 21, 2012 with observing conditions that should be perfect.

Since these meteors pass through the constellation of Orion, call them Orionids. The Orionid meteor shower is not the strongest, but certainly is one of the most beautiful meteor showers of the year.

This meteor shower is accompanied by the brightest stars and planets of Taurus, Gemini and Orion constellations which provide a shiny background. But not only that. This year, Venus and Jupiter have moved to a position, in which together with Sirius, they form a bright triangle in the eastern sky before dawn. On the morning of October 21, incredible pieces of Halley Comet will come straight from the heart of this ‘heavenly trinity’.

To view this show, you are suggested to go out one to two hours before sunrise, when the sky is still dark and the constellation of Orion is high in the sky. Pick a location with a wide view of the sky, despite the Orionids result from a small area near the Orion constellation and do not pass across the whole sky.

Be prepared for meteorites that will pass through the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 148,000 miles per hour. Only the Leonids of November are faster.

Occasionally, the Orionids leave incandescent streams in the sky behind them, and it can be even a more fascinating show than the meteor shower itself.

ScienceCasts: A Meteor Shower from Halley’s Comet

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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