Stargazers are in for a BIG treat tonight. The highly anticipated Orionid meteor shower is tonight and it will light up the sky. The night sky will be ablaze late Saturday night and early Sunday morning with the Orionid meteor shower. “Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Halley’s Comet, the source of the Orionids,” says Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere should give us dozens of meteors per hour.”
Though the Orionid meteor shower is set to begin at 10:00 p.m. EST Saturday, the best time to watch will be Sunday morning, just before sunrise, when Earth will pass through the densest part of Halley’s stream. The Orionid meteor shower will peak about 3:00 a.m. EST Sunday, although there will be lighter meteor sightings before and after, says Karen Randall, director of special projects at SETI Institute. No telescope or other equipment will be necessary, and astronomers predict the Orionids will peak at 20 to 25 meteors per hour, according to the Washington Post.
2011 Orionid Meteor Shower Photos via Space.com
As mentioned above the best time to watch the meteor shower will be about two hours before the sun comes up on Sunday morning. Even if you do not spot a meteor, the night sky will still offer a breathtaking display. Here are some tips and tricks if you are looking to photograph the Orionids meteor shower tonight.
“In addition to Orionids, you’ll see brilliant Venus, red Mars, the dog star Sirius and bright winter constellations such as Orion, Gemini and Taurus,” said NASA in the press release.
Are you planning on waking up early Sunday morning to watch the Orionid meteor shower? If you are watching the Orionid meteor shower and do photograph it, please send us some photos or let us know what you thought of the show in the comments section below.