Get a good view of the meteor shower

October 20, 2009 8:11:44 PM PDT
If you don't mind staying up late, or getting up early, you could be treated a spectacular show from outer space.The Orionid meteor shower is expected to peak between 1:00 a.m. and dawn on Wednesday.

To see them, just look southeast for the constellation Orion, easily identified by the three close stars that form his belt. In fact, the meteors will look like they're coming from Orion's elbow.

The shower is made up of debris left by Halley's comet. About 30 meteors an hour are expected, and you won't even need a telescope to see them.

Orionids appear every year around this time when Earth orbits through an area of space littered with debris from the ancient comet. Normally, the shower produces 10 to 20 meteors per hour, a modest display. The past few years, however, have been much better than usual.

"Since 2006, the Orionids have been one of the best showers of the year, with counts of 60 or more meteors per hour," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

RELATED LINK: NASA's Orionid meteor page
RELATED LINK: Meteor photos

Repeat encounters produced good displays in 2007 and 2008.

The phase of the Moon favors a good show. The Moon is almost new and completely absent from the pre-dawn sky at the time of the shower's peak.

Information provided by nasa.gov

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