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NEVADA CITY, Calif. October 21, 2018 – The Orionids, which peak during mid-October each year, are considered to be one of the most beautiful showers of the year. Orionid meteors are known for their brightness and for their speed. These meteors are fast—they travel at about 148,000 mph (66 km/s) into the Earth’s atmosphere. Fast meteors can leave glowing “trains” (incandescent bits of debris in the wake of the meteor) which last for several seconds to minutes. Fast meteors can also sometimes become fireballs: Look for prolonged explosions of light when viewing the Orionid meteor shower.

The Orionids are also framed by some of the brightest stars in the night sky, which lend a spectacular backdrop for theses showy meteors. [source: NASA]

Tonight’s moon will somewhat hamper the viewing, but to see the maximum amount of meteors, look at a dark patch of sky about 30-40° away from the constellation Orion. The Orionids are remnants of Halley’s comet and appear to originate in the east-northeast sky.

Bundle up and enjoy the show.

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Fast Facts

Comet of Origin 1P/Halley
Radiant Just to the north of constellation Orion’s bright star Betelgeuse
Active October 2 – November 7
Peak Activity Meteor Count Approximately 15 meteors per hour in moonless skies.
Meteor Velocity 41 miles (66 kilometers) per second