October 17, 2008

Orionids Meteor Shower

I posted up some stuff about last year's Orionid meteor showers here and here.

The Orionid meteor shower comes from the Earth passing through the dust trail of quite possibly the most famous comet of all time, Haley's Comet. Pieces of debris, like ice, dust, or rock, enter Earth's atmosphere and become superheated causing a bright flash and streak as the material completely burns up. The larger and/or denser the material that enters the atmosphere, the longer the streak lasts before vanishing.

A meteor shower's radiant is the point at which all the meteors appear to originate from. For the Orionids, it is the left shoulder of Orion.

Grab a chair, find a dark spot, and hopefully see some good meteors. Unfortunately, a bright moon will be up from dusk to dawn, drowning out much of the Orionids. Don't let that dissuade you, there's still bound to be a few screamin' meteors that'll make it worth the wait.