Stargazers, mark your calendars. On October 21st and 22nd, the Orionid meteor shower will be visible overhead, and it’s a spectacle you won’t want to miss.
The Orionid shower occurs when Earth passes through the remnants of Halley’s comet, called meteorites, which burn up in Earth’s atmosphere and leave streaks of light across the sky. Because the meteor shower occurs around the same time each year (mid-October), it’s pretty easy to predict and watch.
The best part about the shower is that it’s not limited to just a few hours. While the best nights to watch are on October 21st and 22nd, meteorites can actually be spotted from early October through November 7th. Given the fullness of the moon around the 21st, you might actually get a better view of the bright meteorites a week or so earlier.
The Orionids got their name because they seem to radiate from the Orion constellation, which is easily recognized by its three stars arranged in a line. While the Orionid meteor shower is relatively small — about 15 meteors per hour in a moonless sky — it’s known to be one of the brightest, most impressive celestial phenomenons. It’s also one of the easiest to spot.
That said, for the best viewings, NASA recommends that you observe them during the hours after midnight, in an area with little light pollution, while lying flat on your back with “your feet facing southeast if you are in the Northern Hemisphere or northeast if you are in the Southern Hemisphere.” It takes about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, so be patient and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful shower.
H/T: The Independent