Get ready for a spectacular light show in the skies.
The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show in the skies over East Atlanta Patch.
Earth began passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet on Oct. 15, which gives us the benefit of the annual Orionids meteor shower.
The shower should be at its peak the night of Saturday, Oct. 20, until just before dawn on Sunday, Oct. 21. 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 15 to 30 meteors per hour, according to Astronomy.com.
This is when and where the website indicates that viewing is best, according to Astronomy.com:
- When: Saturday night into early Sunday morning, Oct. 20 and 21, from midnight to 2 a.m.
- Where to Look: Before midnight, look halfway up to the east; between midnight and 2 a.m., look overhead; from 2 a.m. to dawn, look halfway up in the west. (The meteors will appear to radiate from Orion.)
- Suggestions on Where to Watch: The current weather forecast calls for clear skies so any dark location with a clear view of the sky should work. Of course, getting farther away from the city lights will make for better viewing.
- Bring: Lawn chairs, blankets, sweatshirt, snacks
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?
If you're constellation challenged and still need a little help finding the various formations, you can download the SkyView constellation app for the iPhone or the Droid Sky View (Star Map) for your Android device.
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.
Share your photos of the shower on our community photo gallery!