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Photos: Orionid meteor shower lights up night skies over weekend

(CNN) – Silver fireballs soared over the Northern Hemisphere on Saturday and Sunday. The much-anticipated Orionid meteor shower peaked over the weekend with a bit of the shower still visible Monday morning.

The Orionid meteor shower peaked at about 1:00 a.m. Sunday, said Karen Randall, director of special projects at SETI Institute. The “shooting stars” were even more visually prominent because the new moon set at about midnight Saturday, allowing for a view unaffected by bright moonlight.

The best time to view was Sunday morning. You didn’t even need a telescope; you could just lie down and look up.

The Orionid meteor shower appears annually as the planet moves through an area of space that is littered with ancient remnants from Halley’s Comet. The debris from the famed comet, which last visited Earth in 1986, helps produce up to 25 meteors per hour during the Orionid meteor shower.

The cosmic show was even more visually spectacular as the entry of the meteors into the atmosphere gave them green and orange hues as they passed overhead.

Though they stole the show, it wasn’t just meteors that lit up the weekend’s night skies. Onlookers were also treated to a view of Venus; Mars; Sirius, the brightest star in the sky; and other winter constellations like Gemini, Taurus and Orion.