Orionid Meteor Shower Created by Halley’s Comet Peaks Tonight: NASA Arranges Live Web Chat
According to the opinion of experts, a meteor shower generated by history’s most famous Halley’s comet will peak this weekend, and the people will be able to watch sparkling phenomenon with clear skies.
Astrophotographer Jeff Berkes pictured the above amazing photo of an Orionid meteor streaking above a lake in Elverson, Pa., on Oct. 22, 2011, during the peak of the annual Orionid meteor shower.
The Orionid meteor shower will reach its peak overnight from Saturday to Sunday (Oct. 20-21) as Earth works through wreckage shed by Halley’s Comet on its path around the sun. The most inspiring exhibit should appear a few hours before dawn Sunday, when our planet hits the densest area of Halley’s accrual.
Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., tells;
Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere should give us dozens of meteors per hour.
The moon will be just five days removed from its new phase on Saturday night, and it won’t show up in the pre-dawn skies early Sunday. So bright moonlight shouldn’t drown out many streaking meteors this weekend, researchers said.
The Orionids — so named because they appear to originate near Betelgeuse, the second-brightest star in the constellation Orion (The Hunter) — have historically produced about 20 meteors per hour during their peak. However, the shower has been especially impressive in the last half-decade or so, Cooke said.
“Since 2006, the Orionids have been one of the best showers of the year, with counts of 60 or more meteors per hour,” he said.
Notably, Halley’s Comet comes back to the inner solar system every 75 or 76 years, and it’s dazzling enough to be seen by the naked eye. The comet’s last facade in our skies came in 1986, and the next is due in 2061.
In 1705, English astronomer Edmond Halley recommended that a comet marked 1682 was the same one that lit up the sky in both 1531 and 1607. He further foresaw it would be back in 1758. When this last facade did in fact come to pass, the comet was given Halley’s name.
The Orionids are one of two yearly meteor showers created by icy pieces of Halley’s Comet. The other shower, the Eta Aquarids, peaks each year in early May.
Interested Skywatchers can join Cooke and his team in a live web chat overnight Saturday, from 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. EDT (0300 to 0700 GMT Sunday). Visit this NASA’s web page at the fixed time to join.
Via: Fox News