The annual Orionid meteor shower peaks Friday night into Saturday morning. If you have an unclouded view of the night sky, preferably away from city lights, you’ll see beautiful streaks of light zipping overhead.
What causes it?
Meteors are tiny space debris burning up as they hit Earth’s atmosphere. In the case of the Orionids, the debris are particles left behind by Halley’s Comet, which visited our cosmic neighborhood in 1986. When the comet flies close to the sun every 75 years or so, the sun burns off some of its surface, so it leaves behind dust and rock.
The Earth runs into clouds of debris from Halley’s Comet twice a year. In October and November, we get the Orionid showers. From April to May, we get the Eta Aquarid showers.
Where is Halley’s Comet, anyway?
Far away from here. It’s been traveling away from our sun since its 1986 flyby, and it’s projected to come back close enough for us to see it with the naked eye in 2061.