The Orionid meteor shower is expected to light up the sky of California on the night between October 20 and October 21. The meteor shower is caused by bits of Halley’s Comet which enter the Earth’s atmosphere and flare up in fiery display, according to ABC News.
Astronomers and people who are passionate about stars can witness one of the most admired phenomena this weekend. The Orionid meteor shower will take place on the night between October 20 and 21 and will delight California residents with a fiery show caused by Halley’s Comet.
According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alaska, dozens of meteors per hour are expected to make their appearance in the sky during the 2012 Orionid meteor shower. Their visibility is, nevertheless, strictly linked to the weather conditions that will occur this weekend. Based on the recent researches performed by NASA, Cooke thinks the moon will not interfere with the “shooting stars” as the asteroid is going through its dark, “new” phase.
Halley’s Comet produces two meteor displays in one year. In addition to the Orionid meteor shower, there is also the Eta Aquarid meteor shower which usually occurs in May. These astronomic phenomena are visible whenever the Earth passes through the dust cast off by Halley’s Comet. The heavenly body requires 76 years to complete one orbit around the sun.
The Orionid meteor shower was preceded by an equally spectacular display of light from an extremely large meteor hitting the skies of Northern California on Wednesday evening. The meteor made its appearance on the sky at 7:44 p.m., according to the data provided by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field. The bright fireball was located within the San Francisco Bay Area and scientists are now working on determining whether the meteor ended over land or ocean.