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One of the year’s best sky shows will peak between October 20 and 22. The Orionid meteor shower. The meteors that streak across the sky are some of the fastest and brightest among meteor showers, because the Earth is hitting a stream of particles almost head on. The particles come from comet 1P/Halley, better known as Halley’s Comet. The Orionid meteor shower isn’t the strongest, but it is one of the most beautiful showers of the year. The reason is its setting. The shower is framed by some of the brightest stars in the heavens. Constellations such as Taurus, Gemini, Canis Major and Orion provide a glittering backdrop for the display.
To see the show, experts suggest going outside one to two hours before sunrise, when the sky is dark and the constellation Orion is high overhead. Although Orionids emerge from a small area near the shoulder of Orion, they will spray across the entire sky. Orionid meteors are visible from anywhere on Earth. Be prepared for speed! Meteoroids from Halley’s Comet strike Earth’s atmosphere traveling 148,000 mph. Only the November Leonids are faster. Speed is important because fast meteors have a tendency to explode. Occasionally, Orionid fireballs will leave incandescent streams of debris in their wake that linger for minutes. As many as 25 meteors an hour will dash across the starry sky. If possible, get far away from city lights (which can hinder the show). The best time to watch this shower will be between the hours of midnight and dawn – regardless of your time zone.