Halley’s Comet won’t be visible from Earth for another 42 years but you can see pieces of Halley’s Comet over the next two nights as a part of the Orionid Meteor Shower, which is set to peak on October 21 and 22.
The Orionid Meteor Shower, which gets its name from the Orion constellation, runs from October 2 through November 7 but the next two nights are the best for seeing shooting stars from the meteor shower. The best time for viewing the shower is said to be midnight in whatever time zone you are located in. This is probably past your kid’s bedtime but for something this awesome, you may want to bend the rules a bit and let them enjoy the sky doing its thing.
You are going to want to generally look southeast towards the Orion constellation, though the meteors can typically be seen over large areas of the sky. It’s also recommended that you let your eyes adjust to the night sky, which means taking your eyes off your smartphone for a bit to maximize your viewing experience. There is expected to be a bright moonrise tonight as well, which may hinder the view of meteors for some areas. Still, if you end up with a good view, you could end up getting to see more than 20 shooting stars over the course of an hour.
So how exactly is this connected to Halley’s Comet? The legendary comet is responsible for Orionid Meteor Shower, as the meteors are particles that broke away from Halley’s Comet when it passed through our solar system. Last in the earth’s vicinity in 1986, Halley’s Comet is expected to return in 2061, making it the only naked-eye comet that could appear twice in a single human lifetime. Halley’s Comet is also responsible for the Eta Aquarids, a meteor shower that will peak in early May next year.