Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stargazing in L.A.

What's up Stargazers,
This weekend you must get yourselves to prime viewing areas, far from city lights and above the clouds. Overnight Saturday and into dawn Sunday, the annual Orionid meteor shower will be at peak, and, for your viewing pleasure, the crescent moon will have set. The annual shower comes every October as Earth crosses a debris path left in the wake of Halley's Comet, which visited the blue planet in 1986. The bright "shooting stars" you'll see are pieces of debris entering Earth's atmosphere and vaporizing as they fall.
The best time to watch begins at 11:11pm, when the moon sets, until the sky begins to brighten at about 5:40 a.m. Sunday, according to the Griffith Observatory Sky Report. Before dawn, up to 25 Orionids per hour will be visible in areas where there's no urban lights. Jupiter and Venus will also be visible. The head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office said the Orionid shower isn't the strongest, but it's one of the prettiest. The meteors strike the Earth's atmosphere at 148,000 mph. Enjoy.