Orionid Meteor Shower to Peak This Week

Piel Isalnd and Meteor GRAHAM KIDD

In May, the Earth again runs through the detritus of Halley's Comet, creating the Eta Aquariid meteor shower.

The annual Orionid Meteor Shower peaks this weekend and the best viewing in the Philadelphia area will be Friday night into Saturday morning. Orion doesn't rise above our eastern horizon until about 11 p.m.in mid October, so don't expect to see many meteors before midnight.

The Orionids are generally visible between October 2 and November 7, reaching peak visibility between October 20 and October 22. It produces some of the brightest meteors all year. Look near Orion's club in the hours before dawn and you may see up to 10 to 15 meteors per hour.

The shower forms from the comet's dust particles as they burn up in the earth's atmosphere.

By this time, the Moon will have set.

Star gazers will be aided this year by the lack of moonlight which should keep the skies clear of any hindering light pollution. It's essentially due to the Earth drifting through the debris left behind Halley's Comet.

The offspring of Comet Halley will grace the early morning hours as they return once again as the Orionids.

There will be clear skies in SC and throughout the eastern US which will provide excellent viewing conditions.

For the best show, find a safe, dark place away from city lights.

Another bonus: Skywatchers across the highly populated eastern US should have clear skies for viewing the Orionids, according to AccuWeather meteorologist and astronomy blogger Dave Samuhel.

The Orionids are named after the direction from which they appear to radiate, which is near the constellation Orion, Space.com explained.

The meteors will be visible anywhere across the sky from anywhere on Earth - provided you have cloudless skies overhead.

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