Orionid Meteor Shower

by umer | 9:03 AM in |

Orionid Meteor Shower--Stargazers fought through the glare of a nearly full moon Sunday night to take in the peak hours of the Orionid meteor shower, or shooting stars left in the wake of Halley's Comet.
The annual meteor shower is actually just debris left in the wake of the famed comet, which flies by Earth once every 76 years (the last time was in 1986). The shards, melted off by the sun, pass through the planet's atmosphere twice a year — once in May and once in October, according to Space.com.

The Orionid is so named because its meteors appear to shoot in the direction of the Orion constellation.

At its peak viewing time, the Orionid meteor shower can produce one shooting star every three minutes, but astronomers were worried about this year's full moon washing out the view.

"Moonlit skies from a bright waning gibbous moon make this a less than favorable year for viewing," a NASA meteor shower guide for 2013 predicted over the weekend. "However, the Orionids are known for being bright meteors, so there still might be a good show in the early hours before dawn."