Orionids Meteor Shower Tonight
You may be able to catch a shooting star from your own backyard.
The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show in the skies over Red Bank and Shrewsbury.
Earth began 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 the best views are likely to come tonight, Saturday.
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.
The best place to watch is one with minimal light pollution. Depending on where you live, your backyard might be the best place to cozy up with a blanket and some hot chocolate while you wait to see this magical show. For those living in Red Bank and Shrewsbury, you might be better served by driving out into the country a bit, though if you're lucky you'll be able to see them anyway.
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.