Connect to share and comment

Halley's Comet meteor shower expected to light the sky tonight

The Orionid meteor shower occurs annually and is said to produce about 20 meteors per hour.

met specEnlarge
An Orionid meteor shower will light up the sky tonight says NASA. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

A meteor shower from pieces of Halley's comet will light up the sky tonight in what promises to be a dazzling show.

The Orionid meteor shower occurs annually and is said to produce about 20 meteors per hour, reported DiscoveryNews.

Space.com said that the last five years have seen ever more impressive showers with sometimes dozens of extra meteors per hour than normal.

"Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, the source of the Orionids," said Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Space Flight Center, reported the website.

"Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere should give us dozens of meteors per hour."

"Since 2006, the Orionids have been one of the best showers of the year, with counts of 60 or more meteors per hour," he added.

More from GlobalPostNom, nom: Curiosity Mars Rover ingests first soil sample

The shower will not be hampered by bright moonlight given that the moon at the end of its cycle, said Fox News.

The best time to watch the shower will be before sunrise on Sunday morning.

They're best watched from a rural location given urban light pollution which could dim the spectacle.

Halley's comet, which appears every 76 years, shoots around the solar system and will be seen again until 2061 - those who once watched as children will then watch as elderly folk.

The comet produces two meteor showers per year: the Orionids and Eta Aquarids, which occurs in early May.

Edmond Halley, an English astronomer in the 17th century, was the first to discover the reappearance of the comet.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/121020/halleys-comet-meteor-shower-expected-light-the-sky-tonight