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Orionids Meteor Shower Peaks Saturday: What, When, Why, Where to Watch

The 2012 Orionids meteor shower should be at its peak the night of Saturday, Oct. 20, until just before dawn on Oct. 21.

The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show.

Earth began passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet Oct. 15, which gives us the benefit of the annual Orionids meteor shower.

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.

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.

Where are you going to watch the shower? Tell us in the comments!

To make sure you get the best view possible, remember to check the weather forecast and conditions before you head outside to watch. 

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