The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show in the skies around Chicago.
Earth is currently passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, which will give us the benefit of the annual Orionids meteor shower.
According to Adler Planetarium, the shower is expected to peak in the Chicago area just before midnight Saturday, Oct. 20, and continue until just before dawn Sunday, Oct. 21. The moon sets early that night, which will keep the sky dark enough that—barring cloud cover—you should be able to see about a dozen meteors per hour, according to Adler's information.
The National Weather Service is predicting totally clear skies in Elmhurst on Saturday night.
"Despite not being the most spectacular meteor shower, the Orionids have the most well known of all the meteor stream parent bodies," Adler Planetarium astronomer Michael Solontoi told National Geographic last fall. "As Halley's comet orbits the sun, it has left behind dust that was liberated from the comet when it was warmed by its close passage to the sun, most recently in 1986."
With the second-fastest entry velocity of all the annual meteor showers, meteors from the Orionids produce yellow and green colors and occasionally produce an odd fireball.