Orionids Meteor Shower 2012 Peak: Where and When to Watch in O'Fallon

Shooting stars will be flying early in the morning, but it promises to be a show worth watching.

The offspring of Halley's comet are about to put on quite a show over the skies of O'Fallon.

Earth passes through a stream of debris from Halley's beginning Oct. 15, which gives us the benefit of the annual Orionid meteor shower, though you probably won't see much until a bit later.

The shower should be at its best the night of Saturday, Oct. 20 until just before dawn on Oct. 21. This year, the moon will set at about midnight, which will keep the sky darkened enough that—barring cloud cover—you should be able to see up to 15 meteors per hour.

What makes this shower so cool? First, 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 then, Canis Major, home of Sirius, the brightest star we can see - well, aside from the sun.

Something else 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.

Obviously, you'll have more luck catching the shooting stars if you're in a place not polluted by light.

In O'Fallon, that may mean heading near a city park, away from Highway K onto the back roads or your own backyard, where you can get a good peek at the night sky.

Cathy Mueller Hoffmann October 10, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Sure would be cool if some business spots would purposely shut their lights off for a few "red eye hours" so those of us with sleeping toddlers could maybe catch a few Ooohs & Ahhhs. :-)


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