Look For A Star
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Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight
[By Tariq Malik]
This year’s best viewing will be …
The Orionid meteor shower will rain bits of Halley's Comet on Earth tonight in a promising weekend "shooting star" display. You can even watch the celestial fireworks online if bad weather spoils your local view.
The 2012 Orionid meteor shower will peak early Sunday (Oct. 21), but should still be an impressive sight throughout the overnight hours of late Saturday, NASA scientists say. The space agency will stream live meteor shower views from an all-sky camera at its Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
"Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet , the source of the Orionids," meteor expert Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office said in a statement. "Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere should give us dozens of meteors per hour."
The best time to see the Orionid meteor shower is before sunrise on Sunday morning. At that time, Earth will be passing through the densest part of the Halley's Comet debris stream. [Photos: Orionid Meteor Shower of 2012 ]
The Orionids appear to radiate out of the well-known constellation Orion, hence their name. In the predawn hours this weekend, the constellation is visible in the southern sky.
"Since 2006, the Orionids have been one of the best meteor showers of the year, with counts in some years up to 60 or more meteors per hour," Cooke said.
NASA's live view of the Orionids begins tonight at 11 p.m. EDT and ends at 3 a.m. EDT on Sunday (0300 to 0700 GMT). The space agency will provide a Ustream feed of the Orionids from its all-sky camera, as well as a web chat with astronomer Mitzi Adams to answer reader questions. You can access the webcast and video stream here at 11 p.m. tonight.