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Tonight: Orionids Meteor Shower 2012

Shooting stars will be flying tonight until early in the morning Sunday, putting on an annual celestial show.

The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show in the skies.

Since Oct. 15, Earth has passed through the stream of debris at the tail of the comet, which creates the annual Orionids meteor shower.

The shower will peak Saturday night until just before dawn Sunday. This year, the moon will be setting at approximately midnight, which will keep the sky darkened enough that—barring cloud cover—you should be able to see up to 15 meteors per hour.

The forecast for Saturday night and into Sunday morning is mostly clear leading into a sunny Sunday, according to the National Weather Service—likely a good night for stargazing.

What makes this shower so cool? First of all, c'mon—it's a show of shooting stars.

Also, though, there's no question about where to look for this one. Meteor showers get their names from the constellations in the sky where they can be spotted. And what's easier to spot than Orion the Hunter?

The stars tend to shoot from Orion's club, pierce Taurus the Bull, the Gemini twins, Leo the Lion and finally, Canis Major, home of Sirius, the brightest star we can see—well, aside from the sun.

There's also something else that's special about this show: With the second-fastest entry velocity of all the annual meteor showers, meteors from the Orionids produce yellow and green colors and occasionally produce an odd fireball.

To make sure you get the best view possible, remember to check the weather forecast and conditions before you head outside to watch.

And of course, if you take any pictures, post them to Patch so we can all see!

Abigail Bellamy October 20, 2012 at 07:22 PM
I observed the Orionids last year and it was amazing! I've found great viewing information on this site: http://www.spacedex.com/orionids - Hope you all enjoy the show!
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) October 20, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Great link -- lots of info. Thanks!
patrick dupuis October 22, 2012 at 12:43 AM
was wondering if any one else saw that fireball meteor around five am in the northwest section of the sky the peak nite of the orionid shower- an intense streak of hot white and brilliant purple that blasted thru the dark skhy and seemed to go on for ever

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