Orionids Meteor Shower 2012: Watching in Medford

The Orionids meteor shower promises to be a show worth watching. They begin Monday and the best time for watching will be on Oct. 20 and 21, weather permitting.

The offspring of Halley's Comet will soon put on quite a show.

Starting Monday, Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, which will give us the benefit of the annual Orionids meteor shower.

The meteor shower will be at its most dramatic the night of Oct. 20 until before dawn on Oct. 21. It's too soon to say what weather conditions will be at that time. Here in Medford, mostly clear skies are expected Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, so that might be your best chance to see the meteors.

Space.com has these tips for watching:

  • Get as far away from city and other artificial lights as possible. Meteor showers are best viewed in really dark skies.
  • Use a chair that reclines enough for you to comfortably gaze into the sky.
  • You don’t need binoculars or a telescope—that will only limit the amount of sky you can see

Also, NASA has this video and article about the Orionids.

In Somerville, it can be difficult to get away from city lights, but here are some places that might be good options for viewing:

  • Tufts University
  • Playstead Park

If you know of another good place in or near Medford to watch, let people know in the comments section below.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast for the weekend—Oct. 20 and 21—when the shower should be at its peak. This year, the moon will be setting at approximately midnight, which will keep the sky darkened enough that you should be able to see up to 15 meteors per hour.

Meteor showers get their names from the constellations in the sky where they can be spotted. Look for Orion the Hunter: The stars tend to shoot from Orion's club.

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.

Upset October 15, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Upset October 18, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Hi folks! I just want to add a few words after "FIREBALLS." That will be ,"HEADING AT OUR AREA!!!" Sorry about that folks!


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