Dozen of meteors will streak across the night sky as clear conditions provide millions with an ideal view of the Orionid meteor shower. The best viewing is after midnight tonight and again overnight Saturday.
The Orionids is an annual meteor shower caused by debris left behind by Haley’s Comet burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
“The shower will produce somewhere between 10 and 20 meteors per hour,” AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist and astronomy blogger Dave Samuhel said. The best viewing time is around 2 a.m., when the constellation Orion is high in the sky, although the showers can last for hours.
Halley's Comet swings by every 75 years, leaving behind a trail of comet crumbs. At certain times of the year, Earth's orbit around the sun crosses paths with the debris.
This year will be a particularly good year for viewing the Orionids. The peak of the shower falls just days after the new moon, so there will be little natural light pollution for the shower to compete with.
Fairfield County and much of the eastern U.S. will have the best weather for viewing the shower with a large dome of high pressure promoting clear skies across the region. Last year, clouds obscured the shower for many in the eastern U.S., but this year will likely provide a better window for viewing meteors.
The best time to watch the Orionid meteor shower is between midnight and dawn.
People viewing the showers late Friday/early Saturday should be patient as it may take some time to spot the shooting stars.
On Saturday night, viewing conditions will be excellent across the Northeast with clear skies.
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