Orionids Meteor Shower 2012 Begins October 15

Shooting stars will be flying early in the morning in Middlebury and Woodbury. The Orionids meteor shower promises to be a show worth watching.


The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show in the sky over Middlebury and Woodbury.

Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet beginning October 15, which will give us the benefit of the annual Orionids meteor shower—though you probably won't see much until a bit later.

The shower should be at its peak the night of Saturday, Oct. 20, until just before dawn on 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 up to 15 meteors per hour.


Interested in astronomy? Check out Aaron Turner's blogs on space, stars and all thing cosmic.


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.

Tips For Watching a Meteor Shower

The EarthSky website offered the following tips for watching meteor showers.

  • Bring a blanket or reclining chair
  • Pack a thermos with a hot drink
  • Dress warmly
  • Bring binoculars

What are the best viewing spots to watch the shower? Do you know of any public viewing events happening? Let us know in the comments.


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