Orionids meteor shower set to peak over the weekend

Orionids meteor shower set to peak over the weekend

So what exactly is it?

Is this our best viewing chance? Don't worry - Newsround's got you covered.

The Orionid meteor shower is not the most prolific of the annual meteor showers (the more-prolific Perseids are more famous for a reason, and the Leonids have provided some of the most stunning shows in history). Image copyright Luis Argerich/NASA Image caption This streak from the Orionids was taken from the Mercedes Observatory, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

It's actually been going on for most of October, and will continue through to the start of November, but the optimum time to witness something spectacular is from midnight tonight and before dawn tomorrow morning (pre 7am).

"As Comet Halley moves through space, it leaves debris in its wake that strikes Earth's atmosphere most fully around October 20-22, every year".

Image copyright Digital Vision. The next sighting of the Comet will occur in 2061 but its debris causes the breathtaking meteor shower every year.

The Orionid meteor shower, named after the direction from which the meteors appear near the Orion constellation, is particularly dramatic because essentially the Earth is hitting a stream of particles head-on.

As a rock falls towards earth, resistance of the air on the meteor makes it hot and air around it glows - which has led to them being known as shooting stars.

Oh.and get wishing for some clear skies, of course.

So find a dark spot, bring out your blankets and enjoy one of Mother Nature's best light shows.

What is the best place to watch the Orionids meteor shower?

This means there won't be much light pollution away from the city lights. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above.

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