The Orionid meteor shower is considered the third biggest annual event of its kind, after the Perseids in August and Geminids in December.
The Orionids span the period of Oct. 16 to Oct. 26, though a few meteors are visible in early October and as late as early November.
The meteor shower arises as Earth passes through dust and debris leftover from Halley’s Comet, as tiny flecks burning up when Earth passes through the stream of material, emitting streaks of light.
The Orionids originate near the edge of the constellation Orion (the “radiant” or point of origin). Peak viewing will be shortly before dawn on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The greatest number of meteors per hour — 10 to 20 in ideally clear skies, and a safe, rural environment — will be visible a little around 5 a.m., which is when the constellation Orion is highest and in the south.
The meteors move at a pretty good clip — 41 miles per second — and leave a trail of gas for a few seconds that produces the familiar thin, bright light.