Editor's Note: this is one of two composites for the 2009 Orionids. They look similar, but they show different meteor "streaks."
This composite, false-color image shows the Orionids meteor shower, as seen in the skies over Huntsville, Ala. in late October, 2009.
The Earth is currently passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, lighting up the night sky with the "fireworks" of the annual Orionids meteor shower. Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere are producing dozens of meteors per hour. Normally this shower gives a modest display of 10 to 20 meteors per hour, but the past few years have been more lively than usual.
The Orionids appear around this time each year as Eath orbits through an area of space littered with debris from the ancient comet. The Orionids occur around October 21 and are named after their radiant, which is located near the constellation Orion. Per Wikipedia, the "radiant" of a meteor shower is the point in the sky from which -- to a planetary observer -- meteors appear to originate.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC (special thanks to NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.)
View more images in our Meteor Shower set: