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Orionids meteor shower begins, to peak on Oct 21 morning

Washington, Oct 17 (): The Orionids meteor shower 2012 has started its show and you can get a clear and a beautiful glimpse of the shooting star, when the sky is clear. The show of the meteor shower has started on Oct. 15 and it can be seen till Oct. 29. The shower will peak on Oct. 20-21.

On Monday, Earth passed through a stream of debris shed by the Halley’s Comet in its path around the sun. The most striking display of the shower should come for few hours on Sunday before dawn, when Earth hits the thickest patch of the Halley’s detritus. Every year, the Earth passes through this debris in the mid-to-late October when the Orionids meteor shower is seen.

Bill Cooke, the head of Meteoroid Environment Bureau at NASA’s Space Flight Center in Huntsville, said in a statement that the flakes of the comet dust that hit the atmosphere would give us several meteors per hour. He said that since 2006, Orionids have become one among the best showers of the year, showing about 60 or above meteors per hour.

Cooke said that this year they expect to view nearly 25 meteors/hour when the shower peaks on Oct 21, Sunday morning. The appearance of Moon will not spoil the show, so the observing conditions are considered very ideal this year. As these meteors splash out of constellation Orion, astronomers have named them “Orionids.”

Another special feature about this meteor shower show is with having second fastest entrance velocity compared to all annual meteor showers, the Orionids meteors produce green and yellow colours and occasionally they produce a strange fireball too.

The Orionids meteor shower is one among the two yearly meteor showers that are produced by the icy pieces of the Halley’s Comet. Eta Aquarids is the other meteor shower that peaks its show every year in the early days of May.