CASPER, Wyo. — The Orionids meteor shower is an annual celestial event that occurs in mid-October.
NASA explains that the material for this meteor shower originates with Halley’s Comet.
“Each time that Halley returns to the inner solar system its nucleus sheds ice and rocky dust into space,” NASA says. “The dust grains eventually become the Orionids in October and the Eta Aquarids in May if they collide with Earth’s atmosphere.”
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The meteor shower gets its name because they appear to observers to come from the area of the sky known as the Orion constellation.
“Orionid meteors are known for their brightness and for their speed,” NASA adds. “These meteors are fast—they travel at about 148,000 mph (66 km/s) into the Earth’s atmosphere.”
“Fast meteors can leave glowing “trains” (incandescent bits of debris in the wake of the meteor) which last for several seconds to minutes. Fast meteors can also sometimes become fireballs: Look for prolonged explosions of light when viewing the Orionid meteor shower.”
Peak viewing of the Orionids this year are the nights of Oct. 21-22, according to timeanddate.com.
They add that the meteor shower may be visible in the Casper area at around 11 pm Monday and beginning at about midnight Tuesday.