If you’re looking up and worried about your chances of catching the Orionids meteor shower tonight, don’t fret. Everything will be OK.
At least the National Weather Service says it will.
The meteor shower is set to peak before dawn on Saturday and Sunday. Despite the cloudy skies today and forecast for Saturday, when it matters, the skies should clear.
A cold front is moving through the area, but it should keep on moving, heading offshore by Friday night, taking with it most of the clouds, according to NWS.
Then, between midnight and dawn, look up.
Meteors will be visible in all parts of the sky, but if you trace their paths, they will all look like they are coming fro a single point in the sky – the radiant point – and that’s in the northeast corner of the Orion constellation. Orion will be pretty high in the southeast sky, moving south as dawn approaches.
Saturday during the day, the clouds will return, according to NWS. But don’t worry. Carrie Suffern at NWS, says: “Saturday night should decrease to partly cloudy, maybe even mostly clear. And mostly clear by Sunday.”
Again, between midnight and dawn on Sunday and Monday, this annual meteor shower -- created by debris from Halley’s Comet sizzling up in our atmosphere -- should produce up to 20 meteors per hour or more according to EarthSky.org.
Meteors will be the stars of the show, if you will, but this weekend’s sky will have some other notable players.
In the northwest of the Orion constellation you’ll a steady, brightly shining object. That’s Jupiter. In the southeast corner, Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, will twinkle like a colorful disco ball.
And if you stay up late (or early) enough, look for Venus in the east. Even in the later dawn hours, when the sky begins to turn a bright blue and the stars fade, Venus will continue to shine brightly, the only visible celestial object until it’s washed out by sunlight.
Will you be watching the stars this weekend? Tell us in comments.