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When is the 2012 Orionids Meteor Shower? Coming Up!

When you look for the Hunter, think, for thousands of years, people have looked up and seen the same thing.

It’s one of the most recognizable groupings of stars, and for centuries people have seen the same thing when they see the constellation Orion: a man in the sky.

And if you haven’t noticed Orion lately, just wait, there’s going to be quite a show later this week when the Orionids meteor shower peaks.

Where in Ellicott City will you go to watch the Orionids meteor shower? Let us know in the comments.

Many of us learned of Orion the Hunter or the Archer.

But Babylonians saw a shepherd; in Ancient Egypt, Orion was believed to have represented the soul of the god Osiris.

Ancient Persians also saw a hunter; in the ancient Arab world, the constellation was a giant.

If, by some unbelievable circumstance, you have not been able to find this giant man in the sky, look toward the east/southeast this week – but especially on Oct. 20 and 21. That’s when the Orionids meteor shower is set to peak. 

Meteors wills seem to fly in every direction, but trace their path back to their point of origin and they will look like they are coming from the same place in the northern part of the constellation – that's called the radiant point.  

The radiant point is the place where the Earth is passing through debris left by Halley's Comet. The icy, rocky leftovers heat up and vaporize as they enter our atmosphere, creating the illusion of stars falling from the sky -- shooting stars, as meteors are often called.

The most number of meteors -- up to 20 per hour -- should be visible from midnight to dawn on Saturday and Sunday, according to EarthSky.org.

And while you’re outside looking for meteors, you’ll also have a chance to see Jupiter, in the northeast part of the constellation. Add Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky (the manically twinkly star in Canis Major, just southwest of Orion) and next weekend’s sky will be one of the most spectacular ones this year.

Related articles:

- Perseid Meteor Shower 2012 to Light Up the Sky

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Brandie Jefferson October 16, 2012 at 12:04 PM
I have to say, I was outside at about 5 this morning and the sky was crystal clear -- Orion was about 45 degrees from the horizon and shining brightly. If skies stay clear this weekend, it's going to be an amazing show!
Brandie Jefferson October 19, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I should correct my comment -- I went out again and realized Orion was much higher than 45 degrees. Living on a hill skews things, I think!

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