Tonight should be the best meteor shower of the year, thanks to Halley’s Comet.


Tonight should be the best meteor shower of the year, thanks to Halley’s Comet. Right now, the Earth is moving through the cloud of dust and debris left behind by Halley’s Comet, which is probably the most well-known comet. The Orionids meteor shower is what makes the night sky bright at this time of year. This year, it will be at its best tonight and in the early hours of tomorrow.

So far this year, there haven’t been many good meteor showers. This is because meteor showers and full Moons have happened at the same time, and full Moons tend to shine brighter than anything else nearby, including meteors. The Orionids, on the other hand, are at their best after the full moon in October, so if the sky is dark, you should be able to see 10–40 shooting stars an hour.

Meteors are called “shooting stars” because of the bright flashes of light they make as they burn up in the atmosphere. Some meteors are as small as a grain of sand. Meteor peaks happen when we move through the most particles in a comet stream. This is when shooting stars are the brightest, most numerous, and lightest.

Even though meteor showers get their names from the constellation from which they seem to come, in this case, Orion, meteors actually come from all over the sky, so you don’t need to look in a certain direction—just up.

But Orion the Hunter is also one of the easiest constellations to find. All you have to do is look for Orion’s belt, which is made up of three bright stars in a short, straight line in the middle of the Hunter.

If you ask someone to name a comet, they will probably say Halley’s Comet. The comet has been seen many times in the past—even it’s on the Bayeux Tapestry—but it took us a while to figure out that it was always the same thing.

The comet 1P/Halley, as it is officially called, is well-known because it was the first time astronomers realized that comets could return to our night skies. Its elliptical orbit takes about 75 years to complete and takes it from beyond Neptune to even closer to the Sun than Venus. The next one will happen in the middle of 2061.

Most comets are linked to one rain shower, but Halley’s comet is linked to two. People think that the Eta Aquariids in May came from the comet, even though they have moved away from its path in the last few hundred years.

One of the few meteor showers that can be seen in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres is the Orionids. The best time to see the Orionids is right before sunrise, and the best way to see them is with just your eyes. If you’d rather stay up late, look to the east after midnight and look low in the sky for Orion.