Orionids meteor shower tonight
According to NASA.gov, this photo may depict an Orionid meteor
Credit: NASA/Jimmy Westlake
Fragments from Halley’s comet colliding with our atmosphere known as the Orionid meteor shower will reach optimal viewing conditions at about 5 a.m. EDT, but the light show will be difficult to see due to a nearly full moon.
But according to NASA, Orionids are faster than most meteors reaching speeds of up to 148,000 mph, and can leave bright glowing trains or even erupt into fireballs. An exceptionally bright Orionid might still be visible even with the bright and waning gibbous moon.
The fragments from Halley’s comet come one day after the Mark Twain prize for American humor was awarded to Carol Burnett- Twain was born in 1835 as Halley’s comet was making its rare pass over the Earth, and died in 1910 as the comet passed again. Twain famously said,
“I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it… The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”
Hari Sreenivasan spoke with Ben Griffin, Associate Editor of Volume Two of the Autobiography of Mark Twain.