Orionids meteor shower fizzles, pops

Photos by M. Scott Moon

In this time-lapse sequence, a meteor from the annual Orionids meteor shower slices through the darkness above Kenai at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, leaving a cloud that was visible high in the atmosphere for several minutes. The sequence is composed of six 30-second exposures, separated from each other by 35 seconds. The earth's rotation during the six minutes compressed here makes the stars appear to move against the static spruce tree in the foreground.

Orionid meteors are debris left behind by Halley's comet. The earth passes through the cloud every year at this time and again in the spring. According to spaceweather.com, this year's "storm" featured fewer than the normal number of meteors, with observers reporting about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. The meteors radiate out of the constellation Orion, giving them their name.