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Meteor Shower is Already Showing Off

orionid meteor
A flash in the sky. (nasa.gov photo)

Every year about this time, the planet Earth on its trip around the Sun plows through the leftover pebbles left by Halley’s Comet.

The resulting meteor shower lasts about a week, with the best viewing expected early next week – around October 22. The light trails in the sky (see photo) are caused by tiny rock particles that burn up in the atmosphere. Occasionally a bigger meteor – called a fireball – is seen. A couple of those have already been seen by stargazers in northern California.

Our weather forecast predicts mostly cloudy skies, but if it clears between 12 midnight and sunrise, get out and watch. Stay warm, though, because meteor showers are notoriously unpredictable. One hour you might see lots of them and the next hour only a couple.

The constellation Orion is high in the southern sky in the early morning. And the two bright planets are Jupiter and Venus.

Here’s a nice explanatory video from science.nasa.gov and youtube.

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