Dark skies mean good Orionid meteor shower viewing

Orionid Meteor Shower in the night's sky

Tonight, the evening of October 20 (into the morning hours of October 21) is predicted to be the best night to see the 2017 Orionid meteor shower in the U.S. As luck would have it, it'll also be one of the darkest nights of the month, falling just after the new moon.

So what exactly is it? Ultimately, the view from a higher vantage point, such as a hill or mountain, is best. Don't worry - Newsround's got you covered.

Yes! The meteors which are part of Halley's comet, can cause fast, bright meteors during much of October.

The Orionids happen each year in mid-October and sometimes into November. "This famous comet swings by Earth every 75 to 76 years, and as the icy comet makes its way around the sun, it leaves behind a trail of comet crumbs".

Image copyright Digital Vision.

It's the Earth passing through the debris field of Halley's comet, which last passed by our place in space in 1985 and won't return until 2061.

The Orionids are named after the direction from which they appear to radiate, which is near the constellation Orion, Space.com explained. Reportedly, Astronomy programs co-ordinator Melissa Hulbert at the Sydney Observatory said that Sunday morning will be the best time to see the Orionid shower.

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

So find a dark spot, bring out your blankets and enjoy one of Mother Nature's best light shows.

To get the best view of the meteor shower leave the city and head for the French countryside away from artificial lights.

When there are numerous rocks at the same time, this is known as a meteor shower. It's a rare phenomenon because it can be seen best in the evening right after sunset, as opposed to just before dawn.



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