Catch a “shooting star” created by debris from Halley’s Comet tonight.
The Orionid meteor shower is set to peak in the early morning hours on Thursday, Oct. 22, treating stargazers to some celestial fireworks displays. The meteor shower, created from debris falling off Halley’s Comet, should be visible throughout the northern and southern hemispheres.
The Orionids are an annual meteor shower occurring every year for approximately one week in late October. The meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Orion that the meteors appear to originate from. The meteor shower is produced from bits of ice and dust that break off of Halley’s Comet, and enter Earth’s atmosphere creating what looks like “shooting stars.”
“The Orionids will probably show weaker activity than usual this year,” Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office said in a statement. “Bits of comet dust hitting the atmosphere will probably give us about a dozen meteors per hour.”
Viewing conditions will be best from the time the moon sets in the early morning hours on Thursday, Oct. 22 until just before sunrise. No telescope is necessary to view the meteor shower. Meteors will be visible to the naked eye. Simply look in the direction of the Orion constellation.
NASA and the Slooh Community Observatory will be providing live streams for those who are unable to view the meteor shower due to light pollution or poor weather conditions. Slooh’s broadcast begins at 8 p.m. EDT, with NASA’s live stream starting at 10 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015.