The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show in the skies of Dunedin.
Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet beginning Oct. 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 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: J.C. Weaver Park Pier, Edgewater Linear Park, Dunedin Causeway, Clearwater Beach, or any dark location with a clear view of the sky.
- 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?
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.