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Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight; Formed From Shards of Halley's Comet; Most Visible at 5 AM Eastern Time

By Tony Sokol | October 20, 2013 02:22 PM EDT

Orionid meteor shower that was formed from the shards of Halley's Comet will hit its peak overnight tonight.

The Orionid meteor shower hits the skies every year. Stargazers can see it, weather permitting, as it reaches its peak late tonight and early Oct. 21. The Orionid meteor shower is visible in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Orionid meteor showers formed from the debris from Halley's Comet. Halley's Comet was named after English astronomer Edmond Halley.

The Orionid meteor shower got their name because it looks like the originated from a region to the north of Betelgeuse, the second brightest star in the constellation Orion's. The Orionin meteor shower is not as impressive as the Perseid meteor shower that occurs annually in August. The Orionids usually start to appear around Oct. 17 at a rate of about five per hour. Stargazers can expect to see at most one shooting star every three minutes during the Orionid meteor shower, about a third as many as are visible in the Perseid meteor shower or the Geminid meteor shower that happens in December.

The Orionid meteor shower will be available for viewing online through the Slooh Space Camera. They will air a live 15-minute broadcast of the Orionid meteor shower from the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa at 8 p.m. EDT today.

The bright moon might obscure the Orionid meteor shower. The moon reached its full phase on Oct. 18. The Orionid meteor shower will also be hard to see in urban areas.

A NASA meteor shower guide for 2013 explains "Moonlit skies from a bright waning gibbous moon make this a less than favorable year for viewing. However, the Orionids are known for being bright meteors, so there still might be a good show in the early hours before dawn."

The Orionid meteor shower will be most visible at about 5 a.m. EDT. Orion will be at its highest in the southern sky.

Comets are made of of dusty ice that leaves comet trails as they melt in the sun.

Tagged :  world news, Orionid Meteor Shower, Peaks Tonight, Halley's Comet;

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