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Earth is entering a broad stream of debris from Halley's Comet, and this is causing the annual Orionid meteor shower. "The best time to look is during the hours before dawn on Thursday, Oct. 21st, and again on Friday, Oct 22nd," advises Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "Unfortunately, we have a bright Moon this year. Even so, I'd expect some bright Orionids to shine through the moonlight." An all-sky camera at the University of Western Ontario recorded this early Orionid fireball on Oct. 18th:

Orionid meteors stream from the elbow of Orion the Hunter: sky map. Because the shower's radiant point is close to the celestial equator, sky watchers in both hemispheres can enjoy the show. Moonlit meteor rates will probably be around a dozen per hour.

Radar rates could be much higher. The US Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas is scanning the skies for satellites, space junk, and meteoroids. When an Orionid passes overhead–ping!–there is an echo. Moonlight does not interfere with this method of meteor observing, so it's perfect for this year's Orionids. Tune into Spaceweather Radio for live echoes.

Orionid images: from John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio; from Calvin Hall of Knik Valley, near Palmer Alaska; from Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czech republic

Originally posted on www.spaceweather.com

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