#HalleysComet: You could wait til 2061, or…

.. you can see bits of Halley’s comet anytime this week.





Halley’s comet every year


Comet Hal­ley – the most famous of all comets – last vis­it­ed Earth in 1986. I remember lying on my bed and staring out my bedroom window at it. But even if you were not alive then, you can still see its effects. Every year at this time the earth moves through the trail of dust, ice, and rubble that the comet left behind. These strike Earth’s atmos­phere most fully around Octo­ber 20-22. As it strikes our atmos­phere and begins to fall to Earth, the cometary debris vapor­izes, leav­ing bright streaks across a dark night sky known to us as mete­ors or shoot­ing stars. Thus, every year at this time, as Earth pass­es through debris left behind by Comet Hal­ley, we on Earth see the Ori­on­id mete­or show­er.

In 2012, this show­er peaks on the morn­ing of Sun­day, Octo­ber 21. It should be pretty good this year as the waxing crescent moon should be set by midnight. Go have a look tonight, the comet itself will not be back until 2061.