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.