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Tips for Watching Orionids Meteor Shower

Shooting stars will fly beginning Monday morning.

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

Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet beginning on Monday. The show will give us the benefit of the annual Orionids meteor shower—though you probably won't see much until a bit later.

Some tips for meteor watching in general are on the EarthSky website. For this meteor shower, it's recommended you view it from open area away from city lights.

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.

J. J. McCullough October 15, 2012 at 04:34 AM
What time is the main part of the shower?
Angela White October 15, 2012 at 07:08 PM
October 21, 2012, before dawn. Orionids With the waxing crescent moon setting before midnight (on October 20), that means a dark sky between midnight and dawn, or during the best viewing hours for the Orionid meteors. On a dark, moonless night, the Orionids exhibit a maximum of about 15 meteors per hour. These fast-moving meteors occasionally leave persistent trains and bright fireballs. If you trace these meteors backward, they seem to come from the Club of the famous constellation Orion the Hunter. You might know Orion’s bright, ruddy star Betelgeuse. The radiant is north of Betelgeuse. The Orionids have a broad and irregular peak that isn’t easy to predict. More meteors tend to fly after midnight, and the Orionids are typically at their best in the wee hours before dawn. The best viewing for the Orionids in 2012 will probably be before dawn on October 21..

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