Oct 20, 2014 05:25 PM EDT
It's time for another one of Earth's annual meteor shower events, the Orionid meteor shower. Those who are willing to wake up early enough to catch a glimpse of the pre-dawn sky over the next week should be able to spot a few meteors as they streak across the morning sky. The weather is always a question mark in viewing celestial events like this one, however, everything else appears in line for providing a good viewing experience during the shower this year. For instance, the moon isn't anywhere near full, and so its light will not diminish viewers ability to see in the coming days.
HOW TO WATCH THE SHOW
The peak of the Orionid shower is expected to be on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 21, and you'll have a few options for viewing it. As long as there is no cloud cover where you are, you should be able to see the Orionids in the hours before dawn on Tuesday. However, if you don't want to leave the comfort of your computer chair, there are a couple of webcasts showing the shower online.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is going to show live shots of the sky starting tonight at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. And you can also catch the show on Space.com also beginning at 10 p.m. NASA will also be showing the show on its UStream channel.
WHAT ARE THE ORIONIDS?
The Orionid meteor shower occurs annually as a result of Earth passing into the cosmic dust trail created by Halley's Comet. At the peak of the shower (Tuesday morning) viewers can expect to see nearly 20 meteors streaking across the sky per hour, though your location will affect your ability to see depending on factors like cloud cover and city lights.
The Orionid shower is not as spectacular as the Persaid shower which usually occurs at the end of every summer, though it should still make for a very cool site to those who observe it.
NASA released a statement regarding the shower, stating: "The display will be framed by some of the prettiest stars in the night sky. In addition to Orionids, you'll see the Dog Star Sirius, bright winter constellations such as Orion, Gemini and Taurus, and the planet Jupiter. Even if the shower is a dud, the rest of the sky is dynamite."
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