Get Set for Pre-Dawn Meteor Shower

It's a great year to see the Orionids, astronomers say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2014 1:12 AM CDT
An astronomer observes the Orionids at an observatory near the village of Avren, east of the Bulgarian capital Sofia.   (AP Photo/Petar Petrov)

(Newser) – The annual Orionid meteor shower will be at its peak before dawn today, and astronomers say that since it is very close to a new moon, conditions will be just right to see around 20 meteors per hour. A NASA spokesman says "observing conditions should be ideal" for "one of the most beautiful showers of the year" as the Earth passes through debris from Halley's comet, reports CNN. In a press release, NASA suggests lying down on a blanket outside an hour or two before dawn to catch sight of meteors streaking out of the constellation Orion.

The meteor shower will also be visible tomorrow night, but for those whose view is obscured by clouds, the Slooh observatory service is offering a live feed that will capture not only the sight, but the sound of the Orionids. "As the meteors enter the ionosphere, they, appropriately enough, ionize the air and that serves as a reflector for radio waves, so they actually give a crackle and a sound at the speed of light," a Slooh astronomer tells AccuWeather.com. "As the meteors are being seen, they can also be heard." (Read more Orionid meteor shower stories.)

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