Starry, starry night thousands of meteors will be shooting through the sky tonight as Halley’s Comet passes through the inner solar system in 1986 on its 75-to-76-year orbit.
This annual meteor shower is created when Earth passes through trails of comet debris left in space long ago by Halley’s Comet. The “shooting stars” develop when bits typically no larger than a pea , and mostly sand-grain-sized, vaporize in Earth’s upper atmosphere.
“Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere should give us dozens of meteors per hour,” said Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.
People in cities and suburbs will see far fewer meteors, because all but the brightest of them will be overpowered by light pollution.
A green and red Orionid meteor striking the sky below Milky Way and to the right of Venus. (See image below) Zodiacal light is also seen at the image The trail appears slightly curved due to edge distortion in the lens
The best view will be from rural areas. Viewing of the meteors can be more challenging because of weather and city lights, but the moon will not be a problem, so dark skies will make for ideal viewing.
Bring a chair and some water to drink or lay on the ground in a safe location to view the beautiful night lights.
Excerpts courtesy of http://www.space.com/leonids/
Excerpts courtesy of Spaceweather.com/NASA
Excerpts and images courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orionids