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Orionid meteor shower peaks this week

The Orionid meteor shower is in progress through October 29 but peaks Thursday and Friday night, October 20-21. As Earth passes through debris left from Comet Halley, the particles burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere and streak across the sky. These “shooting stars” will become more numerous during the peak with an average of 10-20 per hour this year. These have been known to produce up to 80 meteors per hour but his year the numbers are expected to be lower.

The shower is named after the constellation Orion since the meteors appear to radiate from Orion’s sword in the east-southeast sky. However, you don’t want to focus on that spot in the sky since meteors close to the radiant tend to have short tails and are harder to see.

WHERE AND WHEN TO LOOK: The best time to view the meteor shower is after midnight through the pre-dawn hours. Get away from city lights and let your eyes adjust to the dark for about 20 minutes. Get comfortable, face southeast and scan the entire sky. Be patient since sometimes meteors come in spurts.

The best night to view the meteor shower in Mid-Missouri is Thursday night since we will have mostly clear skies and above normal temperatures in the 50s. Also, moonlight will not interfere since we will have a new moon. Clouds will increase Friday night, making it difficult to view.

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