South Carolina

Clear skies forecast for the Orionid meteor shower this weekend in the Carolinas

NASA’s tips for best meteor shower viewing

Rhiannon Blaauw, of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office — located at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. — shares some tips and strategies to best view a meteor shower.
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Rhiannon Blaauw, of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office — located at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. — shares some tips and strategies to best view a meteor shower.

The Orionid meteor shower will peak this weekend with 15 to 20 meteors per hour around 2 a.m. both Sunday and Monday, according to Space.com.

The forecast for skygazers both days should be clear across North and South Carolina, according to the Weather Channel. But the bright moon could wash out some of the light show.

NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com, “The moon is going to mess with you.”

For much of the Carolinas most meteors will be about 10 degrees above the eastern horizon, according to the In-the-sky.org, with about four meteors per hour beginning around midnight Saturday night.

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But, Space.com advises, “Orionid meteors are visible from anywhere on Earth and can be seen anywhere across the sky.”

The peak will be around Orion’s sword. NASA’s Cooke told Space.com, “Meteors close to the radiant have short trails and are harder to see — so you want to look away from Orion.”

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab tells us what to look out for in the night sky in October.

The best spots to see the meteor shower will be as far away as possible from any light pollution. Space.com suggests going out to the darkest spot you can find by 1:30 a.m. Sunday and allow your eyes to adjust to the light for about 20 minutes.

The Orionid shower is known for the brightness and speed of its meteors, according to NASA, which calls it “one of the most beautiful showers of the year.”

The annual shower comes from debris off Halley’s Comet, NASA notes, which orbits around the sun about every 76 years. “Every year the Earth passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky,” according to the agency.

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting

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