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The Orionids Meteor Shower

In early Autumn, our planet enters the dust stream from Halley's Comet, giving rise to the Orionid meteor shower, so named because the meteor trails appear to track back from one of the most recognizable constellations, Orion. The dust from Halley's Comet hits our atmosphere at a blistering 148,000 mile per hour, so even tiny bits of dust light up pretty brightly.

In 2021, the Orionids peak is on the morning of October 21. Go out after midnight on the 20th, find a nice dark place, and look all around. (Unfortunately, this year the moon will be nearly full and will be washing the sky with its glare all night.) The show runs through until dawn.

To view a meteor shower, find yourself a dark location (away from lights) with a good view of the sky. Although the shower radiant is in the eastern sky, you will want to view as much of the entire sky as possible. The meteors don't usually appear in the radiant itself.

Don't try to use the binoculars or a 'scope to observe meteors -- they are too unpredictable, and move too fast.

You can find more details at earthsky.org .


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