Famous Comet Causes Montana’s Skies to Light Up
The only concern is cloudy skies, but the Orionid meteor shower is SUPPOSED to be a good one this year, and it's caused by something super interesting.
What we'll HOPEFULLY see is a meteor shower that is caused by the Earth passing through the dust, ice and debris left behind by Halley's Comet. Yes, THAT Halley's Comet.
The Orionid meteor shower is the second meteor shower created by Comet Halley. The Eta Aquarids in May is the other meteor shower created by debris left by Comet Halley.
The Orionid meteor shower is an annual event, happening every October and November. However, not all years are ideal years to catch Orionid's real beauty. Some years there are far more meteors visible than others. This year is supposed to be an excellent year for the frequency of meteors...provided the clouds stay out of our view. According to Space.com:
The Orionid meteor shower will peak between Oct. 21 and Oct. 22 and will remain active until early November. Sometimes the Orionid meteor shower produces spectacular displays of up to 80 meteors an hour, but in recent years it has produced more modest displays of about 20 or 30 visible meteors per hour.
In addition to the being a 'good year' for the number of visible meteors per hour, this Thursday, Friday and Saturday will have much less moonlight to impede the dark night sky. Even though this weekend is scheduled to be the 'optimal time' to catch this meteor shower, it technically lasts a couple weeks so if Mother Nature gives us a cloudy sky...all hope is not lost. Try again the next week on a clear night.
TimeAndDate.com provides a VERY COOL interactive map for the skies above Bozeman. It's helpful to get your bearings not just for this meteor shower, but any celestial event that happens in Montana skies.
The Orionid meteor shower will be the second meteor shower that will be visible over Montana this month. Earlier in October, we were able to catch the Draconids. It's a double whammy meteor month!