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Remains of Halley's comet fall this weekend


Andrew Fazekas, astronomer
October 20, 2012 — In studying the orbits of many meteor swarms, astronomers have found that they correspond with the orbits of known comets.


The peak time to see the Orionid shower will be after the moon sets locally
The peak time to see the Orionid shower will be after the moon sets locally

The Orionids are believed be a result of material shed from Halley's Comet.

As the comet runs its gigantic loop from the Sun out to Neptune, some of the dust shakes off and slams into our atmosphere, creating these "shooting stars."

Orionid meteor showers tend to be full of fast-moving shooting stars, with some of them leaving persistent trains and producing bright fireballs.

The Orionids exhibit a maximum of about 20 meteors per hour, and all of them seem to radiate from its namesake constellation, Orion the hunter -- north of Orionís bright ruddy star Betelgeuse.

The peak time to see the shower will be after the moon sets locally.

The Orionids are typically at their best in the wee hours before dawn. The best viewing time will likely be between 11 p.m. on October 20th, to just before dawn on Sunday, October 21.

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