Meteor shower to light up above Canada all weekend long

Nettie James
October 21, 2017

The meteors become visible when they collide with the Earth's atmosphere, about 100 kilometres up, at a speed of approximately 66 kilometres per second.

Little bits broken off from Halley's Comet will be streaking across the sky this weekend. The shower is called the Orionids because of where it appears in our sky.

The Earth is once again passing through the debris left behind by Halley's Comet, producing the Orionid meteors that peak this weekend.

Check the lunar calendar before the event, as if the moon is too bright during its full or gibbous phase, it may obscure the view.

If the skies are clear enough, you could witnesses up to 20 shooting stars an hour.

"Look near Orion's club in the hours before dawn and you may see up to 10 to 15 meteors per hour", said Jane Houston Jones, from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The Orionid meteor shower is not the most prolific of the annual meteor showers (the more-prolific Perseids are more famous for a reason, and the Leonids have provided some of the most stunning shows in history).

"Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, the source of the Orionids", Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office says in a media release.

Meteor showers are named after the constellation where the rocks appear to be coming fromHow can you watch a meteor shower?

Fortunately, strong moonlight will not interfere with this year's show. The meteors themselves don't really show up until they have moved roughly 30 degrees from the radiant point. This means there won't be much light pollution away from the city lights.

October may be best known for pumpkins, fall weather and haunted houses, but the month is also prime time for meteor showers.

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