Orionids Meteor Shower 2012: Where and When to Watch in Strongsville
Shooting stars will likely be flying early in the morning Oct. 21
The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show in the skies over Strongsville.
Earth started passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet on 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 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.
Some areas of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park close at dusk, but most are open 24 hours a day.
According to an article on NASA's website, the best time to view the shower is one to two hours before sunrise, when the sky is still dark and the constellation Orion is high above. They recommend people lay down on a blanket to get the best, broadest view of the sky.
Royalview and other areas in the Metroparks, as well as Strongsville city parks, open at 6 a.m., and the sun will rise at about 7:45 a.m. Oct. 21.
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.
Strongsville Patch Editor Debbie Palmer contributed to this story.