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Orionid meteor shower 2012 to peak on Oct 20-21 nights

Oct 14 (): The Halley’s Comet’s off springs are ready to put up quite a marvellous show in the dark skies of Bay Area. Every year in the mid-to-late October, the Earth passes through the debris of Halley’s Comet.

This year, beginning from October 15, Monday, our Earth will move through a row of debris of Halley’s Comet. The meteor shower show will be at its peak on Saturday night Oct 20, until before Oct 21 dawn.

For this year’s show, the moon will set at approximately midnight, which would darken the sky much enough that you would be able to see 15 meteors per hour. The most unique feature about the Orionid meteor is they are connected with dust trace left by the Halley’s comet.

James, retired science teacher from Marblehead High School and who is also the golf coach of the school said that the meteor shower we see are the bands of light formed by the tiny dust specks entering into the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Due to their high friction and velocities with the atmosphere, they light up and it is what we see as meteor shower.

Meteor showers are named after the names of the constellations in the sky from where they can be spotted. Orionid meteor shower discharges from constellation Orion.

There is also something more special about the meteor show: Of all meteor showers Orionid meteor is the second-fastest in entry velocity and meteor showers produced from the Orion produce green and yellow colors and sometimes produce odd fireballs.

Occasionally, these Orionid fireballs would leave glowing streams of fragments in their movement that remain for several minutes. Such strands of meteor’s smoke would be twisted up by the upper atmospheric wind into complex shapes, which would be prettier than meteors themselves.

Bill Cooke, NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office head said this year the conditions to observe the shower are very ideal as there is no Moon to spoil the show. He says Orionid meteor shower is not the strongest; rather it is one of the most beautiful showers of the year and since 2006, Orionids have been one of the best showers of the year, with counts of 60 or more meteors per hour.