Conditions Right to See Orionid Meteors Tonight

Caused by dust left by Halley's Comet

Friday, Oct 21, 2011  |  Updated 1:57 PM EDT
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The Orionid meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through the trail of dust left by Halley's Comet.

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Night sky watchers should be able to see a dozen or more meteors per hour tonight, as the Earth passes through dust left by Halley's Comet.

The Orionid meteor shower will peak in the early morning hours on Saturday.  This annual shower occurs when the Earth passes through dust released by Halley's Comet.

News4 meteorologist Veronica Johnson says tonight promises good conditions for gazing at shooting stars.  The midweek storms have moved on, and the coming overnight sky will be nearly clear of cloud cover.  In addition, we'll have a waning crescent moon tonight, meaning only a third will be illuminated.  The less moonlight in the sky, the easier for sky-gazers to see meteors.

Meteors in the Orionid shower appear to originate in the sky from the Orion constellation.  The peak number of meteors per hour have varied over the years, between a dozen and twenty.

If you're heading home from a Friday night football game or out on a midnight stroll, take a look up - you might catch a celestial shower.

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