ITHACA, N.Y. — This weekend is a great opportunity for stargazing. Clear skies are expected this weekend for the annual Orionid meteor shower, during which between 10 and 20 meteors will pass by per hour.

The Orionid meteors are visible every fall when Earth travels through a part of space “littered with debris from Halley’s Comet,” NASA says. The meteor shower will peak Friday and Saturday, and the weather looks cooperative in Ithaca.

Space.com calls the Orionid meteor shower “one of the year’s best sky shows.”

Meteor showers — like Orionid or Leonid — travel in the path away from the constellations for which they are named.

Friday night may be the best opportunity to see the meteors as clear skies are predicted. Saturday could be partly cloudy, according to the National Weather Service.

Since it’s close to the New Moon, viewing this year should be extra bright.

The best viewing time will be between midnight and dawn. Light pollution can dim the effect, so find a dark spot to watch and bundle up. Space.com suggests going outside around 1:30 a.m. and giving your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust.

Though temperatures Friday and this weekend will be in the 70s, at night the temperature will drop to about 44 degrees. On Saturday night, the low is expected to be around 52 degrees.

There will be other opportunities to view meteor showers this fall too, according to AccuWeather.

  • Northern Taurids – Nov. 11 (5 to 10 meteors per hour)
  • Leonids – Nov. 18 (10-15 meteors per hour)
  • Geminids – Dec. 13 (Up to 120 multi-colored meteors per hour)
  • Ursids – Dec. 22 (5 to 10 meteors per hour)

Featured image: “Orionid” by Mike Lewinski is licensed under CC BY 2.0.  

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.