Who doesn’t love looking up at the night sky and noticing a shooting star? This week is the peak time for the Orionid meteor shower - so keep looking up.
Shooting stars are caused by debris that is soaring through space and brought near Earth by gravity. We see these meteors burning up in the atmosphere, causing a bright star-like appearance. During a meteor shower, the space debris is usually part of a comet. Some comets have orbits that bring them near Earth at regular intervals - so we know when to expect them.
Currently, the Orionid meteor shower has been visible from October 2nd, and will continue to be visible until November 7th. Orionids have regularly peaked in activity around October 20th, because it is one of two meteor showers caused by Halley’s comet.
These regular meteor showers are often named after the constellations they appear around in the night sky. The Orionids seems to be radiating from the Orion constellation.
This year the peak days will be October 20th and 21st with a peak rate of 20 meteors per hour. Your best chance at seeing them will be just after midnight, or just before dusk. Make sure you’re located in a dark area, away from as much light as possible.
For further reading: http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/meteor-shower/orionid.html