A green and red Orionid meteor striking the sky below Milky Way and to the right of Venus. Zodiacal light is also seen at the image The trail appears slightly curved due to edge distortion in the lens. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
Tonight should bring a dazzling display of cosmic fireworks in the sky. The Orionid meteor shower will light up the heavens tonight, October 20. The best time to view the meteor shower will be between 4 a.m. and dawn.
The Orionid meteor shower can give us up to 25 meteors an hour when the dust trails of Hailey's Comet hit our Earth's atmosphere.
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Watch the meteor shower live.
The meteor shower is expected to peak Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The best viewing places will be locations that are away from a lot of light pollution, and with a clear view of the sky.
The Orionids are remnants of Hailey's Comet. Every October, the Earth passes through the orbit of the famous comet named after English astronomer Edmond Hailey. The last sighting of Hailey's Comet in our night sky came in 1986, with the next one due sometime around 2061.
"Since 2006, the Orionids have been one of the best showers of the year, with counts in some years up to 60 or more meteors per hour," Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office in Huntsville, Ala., told ABC News. "If you don't want to wait until 2061, this is a way to see a bit of Halley's Comet."
The shower will occur around the constellation Orion, from which it gets its name.
More recent years have shown an increase in the number of meteors per hour, meaning this year's show should be one that stargazers will thoroughly enjoy.
The debris from the comet will be traveling at more than 150,000 miles per hour, creating trails in our sky as they burn up in our Earth's atmosphere.
If you're interested in learning more about the Orionids, watch you can participate in a live NASA chat with astronomer Mitzi Adams.