(FOX40.COM) — Halley’s Comet was last seen by casual observers in 1986, yet it remains one of the most famous astrological phenomena known in modern society. However, some people may be unfamiliar with the meteor shower that it spawns each year.
The Orionids, which is the meteor shower caused by the debris and dust left behind by Halley’s Comet, is considered by NASA as “one of the most beautiful [meteor] showers of the year.”
•Video Above: Perseid meteor shower lights up Sacramento night sky
Although the Orionids will peak between Oct. 21 and 22, it will be visible until Nov. 22, which provides Sacramento’s stargazers plenty of opportunity to witness it in all of its glory.
The best time to see the shower’s peak will be before dawn on Saturday (6:54 a.m.) and after midnight on Sunday.
According to NASA, “Orionid meteors are known for their brightness and speed. These meteors are fast as they travel at about 148,000 mph (66 km/s) into Earth’s atmosphere.”
The agency continued, “Fast meteors can also sometimes become fireballs, so look for prolonged explosions of light when viewing the Orionid meteor shower.”
NASA adds that the Orionids are framed by some of the brightest stars in the night sky, which lends a “spectacular backdrop for these showy meteors.”
NASA’s tips for viewing Orionid meteor shower
The Orionids will be most viewable during the hours after midnight, NASA says. Here are the space agency’s best tips to create the best viewing experience possible.
- Find an area well away from the city or streetlights
- Come prepared with a sleeping bag, blanket, or lawn chair
- Lie flat on your back with your feet facing southeast if you are in the Northern Hemisphere (California is in the Northern Hemisphere) or northeast if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible.
- In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Be patient – the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.
Comet Halley takes about 76 years to orbit the Sun once, so the next time it will enter the inner solar system is estimated to be 2061. But, the dust and debris it leaves behind create a visual experience that can be enjoyed annually.