Meteor Shower This Weekend..

Good Evening From Meteorologist Tony Petrarca

Good news…despite the showers Tonight, improving weather this weekend with clear skies Saturday Night for meteor shower…the following is from


The 2012 Orionid meteor shower will peak this weekend! Look for the greatest numbers of meteors to streak the sky in the dark hours before dawn on Saturday, October 20, and Sunday, October 21, with forecasters giving the nod to Sunday. Fortunately, the waxing crescent moon will set way before the prime time hours for watching the Orionids. The chart at the top of this post shows the radiant point for the meteor shower, which is in the constellation Orion the Hunter.

From the Northern Hemisphere, look for Orion, Sirius and Jupiter in the south before dawn. From the Southern Hemisphere, look closer to overhead.

The radiant point for the Orionids is in the northern part of Orion. Many see the Hunter as a large rectangle. You’ll surely notice its distinctive row of three medium-bright stars in the middle: those stars represent Orion’s Belt. The brightest star in the sky, Sirius, is to the southwest of Orion on the sky’s dome, and the Belt stars always point to Sirius. This constellation is well up in the southeast after midnight now, and it’s high in the south before dawn. We will have much more to say about Orion in the months to come, because it’s one of winter’s most prominent constellations.

Do you need to know Orion to see the meteors? Nah. The meteors will appear in all parts of the sky. But if you trace the paths of the meteors backwards, you’ll see they all seem to come from single point within Orion. The radiant point for the Orionids is above and outside Orion’s rectangle. But – again – you don’t need to identify exactly where the radiant is to enjoy the meteors, or Orion! Just go to a dark sky and look up.

Venus rises in the east about three hours before sunrise at mid-northern latitudes

When should you watch for Orionid meteors in 2012? The best time for viewing for these fast-streaking Orionid meteors will be between midnight (1 a.m. daylight time) and dawn on the mornings of October 20, 21 and 22, 2012. That time holds true no matter what time zone you’re in. If you’re in Asia, you might want to lean a bit toward the morning of October 22. We’ve already been hearing from people who are seeing Orionid meteors, so if you look outside on any of these mornings, you should catch sight of at least one meteor or shooting star.

What planets are visible in the sky after midnight now? The planet Jupiter beams to the northeast of Orion in October 2012. Also, in the hours before dawn, the dazzling planet Venus comes into view in the eastern sky. How can you identify Jupiter and Venus? By their brightness! They are brighter than Sirius, the sky’s brightest star. Venus is brighter than Jupiter.

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