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Orionids Meteor Shower 2012: Where and When to Watch in North Canton

Shooting stars will likely be flying early in the morning Oct. 21 in North Canton. 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 of North Canton.

Earth started 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 you probably won't see much until a bit later.

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 places to watch, not surprisingly, are open, dark skies. Price Park in and Dogwood Park may be great places to take in the lights.

According to an article on NASA's website, the best time to view the shower is one to two hours before sunrise, when the sky is still dark and the constellation Orion is high above. They recommend people lie down on a blanket to get the best, broadest view of the sky. Price Park and Dogwood Park, like all North Canton parks, open at 5 a.m., and the sun will rise at 7:44 a.m. Oct. 21.

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 twinsLeo 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.

Morgan Day (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 04:04 PM
From the Wilderness Center in Wilmot after I checked in with them on their Facebook page: "The Oronids will peak this weekend, Saturday night to Sunday morning. They usually give 15-20 meteors an hour. We don't have a watch planned here at TWC (we usually do the Perseids in August), but you can watch on your own. Dress for the weather and take a camp chair. Go to a dark place, lean back, and watch as much of the sky as you can. The meteors should be visible any time after dark, but peak from midnight to sunrise. Good watching!"

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