If you’re looking for a fun thing to do this weekend, you won’t want to miss the Orionid meteor shower. Astronomers predict the Orionid meteors will show up in the early morning hours of Oct. 21, 2017.
The Orionids are dust from Halley’s comet that appear every year in October. So, how could we have an annual meteor shower from a comet that only shows up every 75 years?
Here’s how that happens: Meteors, or as we think of them, “shooting stars” are actually stationary space debris left by moving celestial bodies. They don’t really “shower” the earth. In fact, the meteors are still, it’s the Earth that’s moving.
Each year in October, the Earth, on its elliptical orbit around the sun, moves into the dust trail left by Halley’s comet. Some of the meteors are pulled into earth’s atmosphere where they get burned up. That’s what creates the beautiful show.
The name “Orionid” comes from the fact that the meteors appear to shoot out of the constellation Orion.
The meteor shower will actually take place anytime between Oct. 2 to Nov. 7, but the frequency will peak between Oct. 20 and 21. The meteor shower should be visible from anywhere in the U.S. on that night.
Scientists say the Orionids could fall at a rate of 10-20 per hour, so it should be a pretty spectacular show.
To determine the best time to view the meteor shower from your location check out the location tracker on Time and Date.