Orionid Meteor Shower

Robert Bigelow

While comet Halley will not return until the year 2061, bits of this famous comet can be seen flashing across the sky during the Orionid meteor shower.

Where to look for the Orionid Meteor Shower by MeteorBlog.com

Twice each year, Earth passes close to the orbit of comet Halley. Although the comet itself is beyond the orbit of Uranus right now, tiny pieces of Halley still orbit the Sun in the inner solar system. As Earth collides nearly head-on into this stream of comet particles, they hit our atmosphere at high speed (150,000 miles per hour). As they do so, they burn up high in the atmosphere, producing the streaks of light we call meteors. The other meteor shower produced by Halley debris is the Eta Aquarids in early May.


The shower’s peak occurs about 10:00 p.m. MDT on October 20. The best viewing time for this shower is from about 1:00 to 6:30 a.m. on October 21 when Utah is facing into the meteor stream. Observers far away from city lights can expect to see about 20 meteors per hour. Some of these meteors should also be visible before dawn on October 20 and 22 as well. While few in number, these meteors can be bright because of their high speed. No special equipment is needed as meteors are best observed with the unaided eye.

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