The sparks that shoot across the heavens every mid- to late October aren't fireworks or orbiting satellites. It's the Orionid meteor shower, which peaks just before dawn this Tuesday, Oct. 21. Earthlings will be able to see about 20 meteor sightings per hour, according to NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. Also on full display are Venus, Jupiter, and the Taurus, Gemini, and Orion constellations. Since there's no moon out tonight, prepare for a spectacular show.
If you're lucky enough to get outside, set your alarm for a few hours before sunrise the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 21, and get as far away from city lights as possible. Check out this interactive sky map as a guide to the night skies in your area, and take it with you on your Orionid meteor shower watch to see how many constellations you can spot. If you're stuck at home, the Slooh space camera will be live streaming the event from the Canary Islands and Prescott, AZ, starting at 5 p.m. PDT on Oct. 21.