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Discover Nature: Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks

Stars twinkle on a deep navy-blue night sky as the moon sinks below the horizon behind silhouetted trees in a wetland area.
Watch for “shooting stars,” especially in the southern sky, as meteors break off from Halley’s Comet and vaporize in Earth’s atmosphere. These meteors will appear to emanate from the constellation, Orion, and will peak this week.";s:3:"u

This week on Discover Nature, keep an eye to the sky after midnight and in the predawn hours, as the annual Orionid meteor shower peaks.

  

 

In autumn each year, just as hunters are taking to the woods and fields here on Earth, a hunter in the sky puts on a show of his own. 

 

The constellation, Orion – known for the three stars in his belt, and his bow-and-arrow aimed to the south – rises in the southeastern sky in late evening. “Shooting stars,” or meteors – sometimes as many as 10-15 per hour – will appear to emit from Orion’s celestial position. 

 

These meteors are actually vaporizing bits of debris from Halley’s Comet, and appear to emanate from Orion’s club – the northern-most part of the constellation. 

 

Orion’s distinctive belt always points southward to Sirius – the brightest star in the sky. 

 

Find a dark spot to sit on a clear night this week, and watch the “stardust” sizzle across the sky. 

 

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Kyle Felling was born in the rugged northwest Missouri hamlet of St. Joseph (where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended). Inspired from a young age by the spirit of the early settlers who used St. Joseph as an embarkation point in their journey westward, Kyle developed the heart of an explorer and yearned to leave for adventures of his own. Perhaps as a result of attending John Glenn elementary school, young Kyle dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but was disheartened when someone told him that astronauts had to be good at math. He also considered being a tow truck driver, and like the heroes of his favorite childhood television shows (The A-Team and The Incredible Hulk) he saw himself traveling the country, helping people in trouble and getting into wacky adventures. He still harbors that dream.
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