Oct. 21 night sky depicted with the Orionid meteor shower, which is named after the constellation of Orion.

Don’t miss tonight’s peak of the Orionid meteor shower (Oct. 21)

Bring a nice blanket, settle back, and observe Halley’s Comet’s debris burn away in our atmosphere.

Tonight (October 21) is the height of the Orionid meteor shower, so now is a great time to go outside and watch some fireballs fly over the sky.

This year’s Orionid meteor shower will be best observed while the moon is in a waning crescent phase, when it is just 17% lit. After the Geminids and Perseids, the Orionids are regarded as one of the most dependable meteor showers and are known to generate dozens of meteors every hour, making this year’s shower a fantastic opportunity for some late-night skywatching.

The meteor shower’s radiant, or the location in the sky from which meteors appear to come, is in the Orion constellation close to the Hunter’s club, hence the name Orionids. Orion will be visible in the southwestern sky in the Northern Hemisphere and in the northwestern sky in the Southern Hemisphere.

Every year, near the end of October, the Earth travels through a cloud of meteoroids that Halley’s Comet has left behind. These dust particles encounter friction as they enter the atmosphere of our planet, igniting the air in front of them. A particle of Halley’s debris as small as a pea can burn with enough incandescence to be visible 60 miles (100 km) below the surface of the Earth.

On Saturday, October 22 at the crack of dawn, will be the ideal time of day to see the meteors. Because Earth is moving toward the direction the meteors are coming from at this time of night, pre-dawn meteors typically shine brighter than those seen earlier in the night. Early morning meteors will appear more quickly and brightly than those observed earlier in the evening.

Set out a cosy recliner, seek out a location with as little light pollution as possible, and stay warm if you want to see the shower. Allow your eyes to adjust for at least 30 minutes.

Photo Credits: https://www.space.com/