Orionid meteor or shooting star

Orionid meteor or shooting star

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Credit: FRANK ZULLO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Meteor. Orionid meteor (at upper right) streaking past the Plough or Big Dipper constellation (at left). Meteors, also called falling or shooting stars, are microscopic dust grains which enter the Earth's atmosphere at speeds of 35-95 kilometres (km) per second. The air resistance incandesces the particles, making them visible as streaks of light. Orionid meteor showers occur each year for about 2 days around 21 October when the Earth crosses the orbit of debris produced by Halley's comet. During this period there are about 100 Orionid meteors each hour, each arriving with an average velocity, relative to the Earth, of 62 km a second. Photographed in Arizona, USA.

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Keywords: astronomy, big dipper, comet debris, constellation, cosmology, debris, falling star, halley's comet, meteor, orionid, plough, shooting star

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