Meteor showers are a much-needed break from the monotony of existence, and conveniently, an exceptional one happens to peak this weekend! Tonight into tomorrow, the Orionid Meteor shower will light up the sky — so don’t forget to look up, folks.
The Orionid shower occurs every October, usually hitting its peak around the 20th of the month. The event gets its name because its meteors appear to come from the constellation Orion, which is home to bright stars like Betelgeuse and Bellatrix. These meteor showers move super fast— at about 41 miles (66 kilometers) per second — and leave magnificent trails behind them. If you’ve got the right equipment, this makes for an excellent photo op.
Tonight’s cosmic soiree is a special treat for many reasons: at its most active, a person should see about 20 meteors per hour. It’s also interesting that the Orionids are one of only two showers throughout the year that are made of debris from the Comet Halley — you know, that famous one we get a glimpse at every 76 years or so.
Rookie stargazers don’t need any special equipment to see the Orionids — just a good pair of eyes and a whole lot of patience — wine is encouraged, obviously. According to EarthSky, the best time to view the shower is during the very early morning hours of October 21st, but you should still be able to see some meteors in the lead up.
Happy stargazing, everyone! Be sure to send us good pictures on Twitter if you’re lucky enough to get some.