Tonight’s partly cloudy skies are expected to last through sunrise Saturday, the weather forecast says, which could obscure some of the meteor show Friday night.
If skies are not obscured, and the area is dark enough, EarthSky.org says about 10 to 15 meteors an hour should be visible.
Just what are those meteors?
Comet Halley, last seen on Earth in 1986, leaves debris as it moves through space. Every year, Earth passes through the comet’s orbit, and those bits of comet ice and dust are meteors, which look like shooting stars as they burn through the atmosphere.
NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com that the showers will continue through Nov. 26, but the best nights to watch are Friday and Saturday this year. Some years Earth-dwellers might see 80 meteors an hour, he said, but this year it’s likely to be more like 20.
This bunch of meteor showers are called the Orionids because they appear to come from the constellation Orion.
On a clear night, the best time for viewing is usually after midnight. Earth is still passing through Halley’s orbit on Saturday night, but AccuWeather forecast predicts clouds and possible thunderstorms Saturday.
According to NASA, the Leonids meteor shower will peak overnight Nov. 18.