November 25, 2020

The Orionid meteor shower peaks tonight! Here’s how to see it.

The Orionid meteor shower peaks tonight into tomorrow morning (Oct. 20-21), and the moon will be dim enough that skygazers might be able to see one or several of these shooting stars.

The bright streaks across the sky that people may see from now until early November are bits and pieces from Halley’s comet. Although the comet won’t be visible from Earth again until about four decades from now, it leaves behind a debris path in the solar system. And each year during mid-October, the Earth passes through this field. Our planet also passes through another part of this debris field in early May, resulting in the Eta Aquarid meteor shower.

The Orionid meteors are known for their speed because they travel at about 148,000 mph (66 km/s) into the Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA. The meteor shower gets its name from its radiant, which is the point in the sky from which the streaks appear to emanate. The Orionid radiant is located near the constellation Orion, the hunter, next to the warrior’s lifted arm.

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