If skies are clear between midnight and the first glimmer of dawn this weekend, you may get to see up to 20 celestial fireworks per hour from the Orionid meteor shower. While far from the richest of the annual shooting star displays, the Orionids are particularly swift and have their genesis in particles strewn along the orbit of Comet Halley.
Halley’s Comet, officially designated 1P/Halley, is visible from Earth every 75–76 years. Despite this regular return, the comet’s orbit cannot be predicted exactly due to processes inside the comet and its chaotic interaction with the planets and minor bodies in the solar system. A team of Dutch and Scottish researchers has now found an explanation for the chaotic orbital behaviour of 1P/Halley.