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Orionids Meteor Shower Guide 2012

Shooting stars will be flying, sometimes in spectacular colors, over Orange County. The 2012 Orionids promise to be a show worth watching.

The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on a colorful show in the skies over Orange County.

The Earth is passing through a stream of debris from the comet, which brings the annual Orionids meteor shower. Although the shower is already underway, you won't see much until Monday.

The Orionids should peak from the night of Saturday, Oct. 20, until just before dawn Oct. 21. This year, the moon will be setting around midnight, which will keep the sky darkened enough to see up to 15 meteors per hour, barring cloud cover.

The best time for viewing is between 1 a.m. and dawn, no matter what time zone you're in, according to EarthSky.org.

Meteor showers get their names from the constellations where they originate, in this case Orion the Hunter.

The Orionids can be seen across the sky, but 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.

With the second-fastest entry velocity of all the annual meteor showers, the Orionids produce yellow and green colors and occasionally an odd fireball.

Space.com has these tips and more:

  • Get as far away from city and other artificial lights as possible. Meteor showers are best viewed in really dark skies.
  • Use a chair that reclines enough for you to comfortably gaze into the sky.
  • You don’t need binoculars or a telescope – that will only limit the amount of sky you can see.
John Crandall October 12, 2012 at 04:33 PM
when I first saw the headline it looked like Onionid. Which is silly. The Onionid meteor shower is a different, much more delicious astronomical event.

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