ORLANDO, Fla. – The night sky will showcase shooting stars Monday night, October 21 through Tuesday morning, October 22.
The Orionid meteor shower may not be the most spectacular of the year, but it delights in other ways. The Orionids appear each year between October 2 and November 7.
The peak occurs when the Earth passes through a debris stream left by the Comet Halley as we intersect it's orbit each year at this time.
They radiate from the well-known Orion constellation, but you don't have to look in the direction of the constellation to see them. In fact, you probably shouldn't because those meteors will have short trails and be harder to see.
It's best to watch before dawn, when typically 10-20 meteors can be seen during peak.
Allow yourself an hour or two to observe. You can check timeanddate.com to see when the shower peaks in your area.
Orionids are also hard to see because they're so fast. They zip into our atmosphere at 41 miles per second, vaporizing in our upper atmosphere about 60 miles above the Earth's surface. Some have been clocked at 148,000 miles per hour. But there's no danger of these bright meteors colliding with Earth. Some of the meteoroids are only the size of a grain of sand.
But they leave beautiful gas trails that can stretch out for seconds after the meteor itself is gone. Or they can break up into bright fragments.
Find an open area away from the city that will afford you a wide view of the sky, and don’t forget to bring a blanket or chair and dress for the weather. Allow yourself time for your eyes to adjust to the dark. And you won’t need binoculars or telescopes to enjoy the show.