The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show in the skies of Herndon.
Earth began passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet beginning Oct. 15, which will give us the benefit of the annual Orionids meteor shower.
The shower should be at its peak Saturday night until just before dawn 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?
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 watch in Herndon, here are some of our tips:
- Gather some friends and head to the top floor of the parking garage at Kohls. It's a great place to watch the skies and where many watched the Discovery shuttle come in to DC.
- Head to the track and field behind Herndon Middle School. It's a nice dark spot for stargazing.
- Kick your feet up in your own backyard if you have a clear view of the moon.
Where do you go to watch sky events?
To make sure you get the best view possible, remember to check the weather forecast and conditions before you head outside to watch.
As of Friday afternoon, the outlook for Saturday evening in Herndon is clear with temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees.