Orionid meteor shower peaked late Sunday and early Monday

Annual meteor shower is known for its super-bright "fireball" meteors.
Posted By Evan Bleier Follow @itishowitis Contact the Author   |  Oct. 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM
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(UPI) -- Spawned by Halley's Comet, the annual Orionid meteor shower peaked late Sunday and early Monday.

Those who were able to stay up past midnight or rise before dawn may have been able to feast their eyes on one of the super-bright "fireball" meteors for which the annual shower is known.

The shower happens in mid-October when the Earth encounters the stream of dust and debris that Halley’s Comet left in its wake. Orionids travel at speeds up to 148,000 mph which makes them more likely than other meteors to become fireballs.

During the shower’s peak, stargazers can see up to 20 meteors per hour. Those in urban areas might have more difficulty.

"With city lights and the moonlight, you might be lucky to see two an hour," said Anthony Cook, the head of the telescope program at Griffith Observatory "But if they are bright, it will be like free fireworks. Even in the suburban light bubble, the sky is really pretty at dawn right now."

According to the 2013 NASA meteor shower guide, "moonlit skies from a bright waning gibbous moon make this a less than favorable year for viewing." But as the Orionids are known for being particularly bright, the agency said there was still "a good show" in the early pre-dawn hours.

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