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Orionid meteor shower expected to light up sky

3:26 PM, Oct 20, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - If you didn't see Wednesday night's Orionid meteor shower or can't get enough of the eye-catching display, astronomers expect an even more dramatic show this weekend.

According to NASA, the hot air trails of meteoroids or space rocks passing through Earth's atmosphere should appear in the sky around the Orion constellation, hence the name Orionid meteor shower.

The meteor shower is expected to begin around 11 p.m. Saturday, peak around midnight and last through Sunday morning, an hour or two before dawn.

Orionids appear every year around this time when the Earth orbits through a part of space that is full of debris from Halley's Comet, NASA spokesperson Janet Anderson said.

"Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, the source of the Orionids," NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office's Bill Cooke explained. "Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere should give us dozens of meteors per hour."

The shower is expected to peak around Oct. 20 to Oct. 21. Usually the shower produces 20 or so meteors per hour, Anderson said.

NASA will be holding a web chat on Saturday, Oct. 20 a few minutes before 8 p.m. PDT to answer questions about the Orionids.

NASA CHAT: Learn more

Did you see the meteor? Send us a picture at or #News10Meteor on Twitter and Instagram


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