Annual Orionid Meteor Shower Is Peaking

The Orionid meteor shower

The Orionid meteor shower

Orionids are named after Orion, because the meteors emerge or radiate from the same area in the sky as the Orion constellation.

As known, the best time for observing Orionid meteor shower is at midnight till dawn time, while the best location is a darker location without light and environmental pollutions. The Orionid meteor shower occurs each year as a result of Earth passing through cosmic dust released by Halley's Comet.

Their name comes from Orion's belt, from which the meteors appear to emanate, specifically north of Orion's second brightest star Betelgeuse.

There are now two other active meteor showers: the Southern Taurids, which last through November 20, and the Northern Taurids until December 10.

However, at almost 40 percent visibility the moon will be bright, making it a little hard to see the meteors.

A lovely sight though binoculars and easy to see with the naked eye from a dark sky site, Collinder 69 can be found just above Orion the Hunter's head. So if you're up late tonight, look up to the sky and you may see something pretty fantastic. The Earth then passes through these debris trails with the pieces of dust colliding with the atmosphere.

The Orionids travel at such speed because the Earth is hitting the stream of Halley's Comet debris almost head-on as it passes through it. Orionid meteors can travel at roughly 148,000 miles per hour into our planet's atmosphere and they can leave glowing "trains", also known as tiny debris, which can last several seconds to minutes.

Fragments from Halley's Comet are briefly streaking across tonight's autumnal skies tonight. "In exceptional years, such as 2006-2009, the peak rates were on par with the Perseids (50-75 per hour)", the American Meteor Society (AMS) says.

If you're looking to view the meteor shower while the moon is in the sky, focus on areas in the sky away from the light of the moon, AccuWeather.com suggests. Last in the earth's vicinity in 1986, Halley's Comet is expected to return in 2061, making it the only naked-eye comet that could appear twice in a single human lifetime.