This fireball from an earlier meteor shower is one of the largest ever recorded.
This fireball from an earlier meteor shower is one of the largest ever recorded. Wally Pacholka

Did you see the 'amazing' meteor shower?

FIRST signs of what Australian Geographic has described as "one of the best meteor showers" this year have been reported by Byron Bay residents.

The shower - known as Orionids meteor shower - is one of the brightest and fastest on the astronomical calendar.

It will be visible across Australia and is expected to peak between midnight tomorrow and into the early hours of Sunday.

But residents have already had a glimpse last night according to a post on Byron Bay Community Board, with many Facebook users describing it as "amazing".

One person wrote: "It looked like destruction".

The Orionids are the second of the annual meteor showers associated with the most famous comet, 1P/Halley, better known as Halley's Comet.

The shower is expected to be active until November 7.

Dave Reneke from Australasian Science magazine said they are estimating around 30 meteors per hour.

"As with all showers, the best time for viewing will be from around midnight until an hour before sunrise," Mr Reneke said.

He said from any Aussie backyard just look for the familiar shape of the 'Saucepan' and watch below the three stars that make up the bottom of the pan.

Mr Reneke said be patient and give it time as it will likely "happen when you least expect it."

And this isn't the only show in the sky this year, Orionid rates are supplemented by meteors from the Taurid stream, a minor shower active from September until December.

Mr Reneke said Taurids are very slow moving but often bright and can produce spectacular fireballs.

Meteor showers - often described as 'shooting stars' - are basically the tail ends of comets or, "small bits of iron rock".

As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet's orbit.

If earth travels through this stream, we see a meteor shower.

There have been several cases over the years where meteors have landed on earth: into people's cars, houses, fields, and have landed on unsuspecting animals and even one lady's hip.

But Mr Reneke said "being clobbered by a meteor is still an extremely remote possibility".

Keep your eyes out for the Orionids tonight, they love dark skies so don't forget to keep your camera handy if they happen - just in case.

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