When Rain Lets Up, Stargazers Can Catch a Different Kind of Shower: Meteors

If you're willing to forego some sleep, the sky will be putting on a show this weekend as the Orionid meteor shower reaches its peak point of visibility.This particular shower, which is active from early October to early November, is expected to peak between Friday and Sunday, with about 20 to 30 meteors per hour, according to space.com.Why it's coolThe meteors are particles from Halley's Comet, which only comes near Earth every 75 to 76 years. During certain times of the year, the comet's debris crosses paths with the Earth's orbit, causing spectacular meteor showers.The Orionid meteor shower, named after the direction from which the meteors appear near the Orion constellation, is particularly dramatic because essentially the Earth is hitting a stream of particles head-on. This makes the meteors appear especially fast and bright. How to see itTo see the shower, get as far away from city lights as possible. You can use this map to find the darkest skies near you for optimal viewing, but be warned, you'll likely have to get out of the DFW area if you want to find truly dark skies. (Thanks, urban development.) The best time to see the meteors will be around 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, so either plan that nap or settle in for a late night.Once you're outside, find the Orion the Hunter constellation. It's the one that looks like a person holding a sword and shield. The meteor shower will start near the sword in the constellation. Can't find it? There's an app for that. Be prepared to plan around the weather because scattered thunderstorms are expected this weekend. Here's what meteorologists at KXAS-TV (NBC5) have in the forecast.Friday: 81/65, 20 percent chance of showers Saturday: 85/70, 40 percent chance of thunderstormsSunday: 72/59, 70 percent chance of thunderstorms   Continue reading...

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