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Fire In The Sky

20 Oct 2012, 1:55 pm

http://frenchtribune.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/article/shooting-stars-orionids-halley-comet.jpg

From the heavens, the Orionids Meteor Shower can be seen streaking along in the overnight sky tonight.  The image above is from the French Tribune.

We’re taking a little break from our normal weather blogging duties today to talk about the show that is visible above us tonight, but don’t worry, we always tie everything we do to the weather around us.  First, this weekend (and namely tonight into the wee hours of Sunday morning), will be the chance to see one of the most plentiful meteor showers to come down, and all you have to do is look out towards the constellation Orion.  That is where the shower get its name from because they appear to originate from a point within the constellation.  This image from Space.com shows that you have to look towards the right arm of the figure, Orion.  Orion is one of the most recognizable constellations in the sky primary due to the three starts that lie in parallel to make up his belt.

The meteors are associated with the famous, Halley’s Comet, which comes pass the Earth every 75-76 years.  While Halley’s Comet may come around once or twice in someone’s lifetime, the Orionids come around every year in late October.

Now in order to see the Orionids, one would need to have clear skies overhead.  Some areas of the nation though will be see scattered rain and even snow showers.  But across the southeast, the central plains and southwest will be where the best conditions over head can be found.  Looking at the CloudCast below, there will be clouds across the northeast left over from a large upper level low pressure system and a new system will be entering the northwest. 

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/basicwx/94f.gif

High pressure across the southeast and southwest will lead to clear skies overhead, but the dry air over the southwest, will lead to clear and crisp skies without any haze from any moisture.

Check out this great Youtube.com video from NASA that gives you some tips on how to watch the Orionids as well as why this show is so spectacular.

 

The best time of the overnight period to view the Orionids is an hour or so before sunrise (say 2 hours to play it safe), when the sky is at its darkest before dawn.  Sunrise, depending on where you are (but, regardless of your time zone) is between 630-745 AM.  So plan to head on out around 4:30-545 AM.  But also dress appropriately for that is when the temperatures are their coldest.  Below we got the morning lows forecasted for tonight.

 

Have a wonderful Saturday and a great weekend.  I hope you get a chance to see some shooting stars tonight, and if so, make a wish!

*****

Addison Green – Meteorologist

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