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Orionids Meteor Shower 2012: Where to Watch in Palo Alto

Shooting stars will be flying early in the morning up in the skies around Palo Alto, starting next week. 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 skies and it could be worth watching.

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 best place to view the shower is away from city lights, like the open area above Stanford, or along the wetlands near the San Francisco Bay.

No viewing parties have been organized in the area, but if you plan to host one please add it to the Palo Alto Patch events calendar.

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.

If you plan to watch, check out Earthsky's Top 10 Tips for Meteor Watchers for your maximum viewing pleasure.

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.

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Aubyn October 18, 2012 at 05:35 AM
I saw the fireball tonight around 8 just over HWY 101 by San Antonio. Just like the description it was green and yellow and moving fiercely across the sky...SPECTACULAR!!!!
Beatrice Karnes October 18, 2012 at 07:49 AM
Thanks for posting, Aubyn! You're quoted in our new article about the meteor.

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