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Orionids Return for Meteor Show in Moonless Sky

On Oct. 21, a crescent moon will set early, leaving a darkened night canvas for the Orionid meteors, 15 an hour average.

Before dawn the Orionids meteor showers may make an appearance, back from earlier in October.

With the waxing crescent moon setting before midnight (on Oct. 20), that means a dark sky between midnight and dawn, or during the best viewing hours for the Orionid meteors.

On a dark, moonless night, the Orionids exhibit a maximum of about 15 meteors per hour. These fast-moving meteors occasionally leave persistent trains and bright fireballs. If you trace these meteors backward, they seem to come from the Club of the famous constellation Orion the Hunter. You might know Orion’s bright, ruddy star Betelgeuse.

The radiant is north of Betelgeuse. The Orionids have a broad and irregular peak that isn’t easy to predict. More meteors tend to fly after midnight, and the Orionids are typically at their best in the wee hours before dawn. The best viewing for the Orionids in 2012 will probably be before dawn on October 21," says EarthSky News.

If you happen to catch any great photos, send them to Nancy.Wride@Patch.com and we will post them.

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