Thank your lucky stars! The Orionid meteor shower peaks this weekend

Piel Isalnd and Meteor GRAHAM KIDD

During the peak, star gazers can expect anywhere up to 80 meteors an hour, though this year Nasa believes that the numbers may not be as spectacular. When one of these dust particles plows into the Earth's upper atmosphere at almost 150,000 miles per hour, it burns up in a brief but brilliant flash of light, called a meteor.

Nasa's Jane Houston Jones said: "The Orionids peak on October 20, a dark, moonless night. Newbies to astronomy should be able to spot this magnitude 6.9 asteroid even from the city".

Enjoy the warmth and sunshine while it lasts, because by this time next week, it's going to feel a lot more like late fall/early winter.

This is the most famous comet on the astronomical calendar because it's visible to the naked eye and also because it can be seen twice in a human lifetime thanks to its appearance in our skies every 74 to 79 years.

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So if you want to go watch the shower find a dark place away from light pollution and look to the southeast sky a few hours before dawn.

Where will the Orionid meteor shower appear?

The best time to see the shower is after midnight.

As the comet moves through space, it leaves debris in its wake that strikes Earth's atmosphere most fully around October 20-22, each year.

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Turn your gaze toward the eastern sky or the western edge of the Orion constellation for the bulk of the meteors.

You can make your meteor watching experience much more comfortable if you take along a lawn chair, a blanket and a thermos of your favorite hot beverage. We first enter the "stream" at the beginning of October and we don't leave it until the beginning of November, making our chances of "catching a falling star" even greater!

The Orionids are incredibly fast meteors, and crash into Earth's atmosphere at a speed of 66 km/s.

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