Is the United States presidential election stressing you out? If so, take a break and look at the stars — the Orionid meteor shower is set to peak Thursday night and Friday morning. The moon and clouds are predicted to reduce visibility, especially in the eastern U.S., but in other areas, viewers could see up to 20 meteors an hour, according to EarthSky.
"The Orionids are one of the top five meteor showers of the year and will bring the best chance to see a shooting star since the Perseids meteor shower in August," AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Lada said in a blog post. "Occasionally, the Orionids produce fireballs, meteors that shine extremely bright for a few quick seconds before fading away."
The Orionid meteor shower occurs when the Earth moves through a bunch of debris from Halley's Comet, the famous comet that is visible just once every 75 years or so. The meteoroids left behind by the comet come into Earth's atmosphere twice a year. They're called Orionids because they seem to come from the constellation Orion.
The meteor shower will last through Nov. 7, according to Space.com, but this week is the best time to try to spot comets. Simply head to an area with no light pollution just before dawn, lie on your back and keep your eyes peeled.
You're in the best position to watch the shower if you're in the southwest U.S., AccuWeather reported. But if you're elsewhere or can't make it outside, don't despair.
The Slooh Astronomy Network will live stream the shower from its flagship location in the Canary Islands here. The broadcast will start at 8 p.m. EDT and feature Slooh astronomers who will explain what you're seeing.
And, if you don't see much on Thursday, remember you can always try again. "A good thing about the Orionids is that they tend to either have a double peak or a flat maximum, which means that you can see good Orionid rates for two to three nights," NASA's Bill Cooke told Space.com. "So if you miss it one night, you can go out the next night and see them."