20 Aug 2014
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Orionids Meteor Shower: Where to Watch in Reston

Shooting stars flying early Saturday over Reston promises to be a show worth watching.

Orionids Meteor Shower: Where to Watch in Reston

The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show in the skies of Reston.

Earth began passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet beginning Oct. 15, which will give us the benefit of the annual Orionids meteor shower.

The shower should be at its peak Saturday night until just before dawn Oct. 21. This year, the moon will be setting at approximately midnight, which will keep the sky darkened enough that—barring cloud cover—you should be able to see up to 15 meteors per hour.

What makes this shower so cool? First of all, c'mon—it's a show of shooting stars.

Also, though, there's no question about where to look for this one. Meteor showers get their names from the constellations in the sky where they can be spotted. And what's easier to spot than Orion the Hunter?

The stars tend to shoot from Orion's club, pierce Taurus the Bull, the Gemini twins, Leo the Lion and finally, Canis Major, home of Sirius, the brightest star we can see—well, aside from the sun.

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.

To watch in Reston, here are some of our tips:

  • Gather some friends and drive to the top floor of one of Reston Town Center's parking garages. (You can make it an event with dinner, desert and a shooting star nightcap).
  • Hang out at Lake Anne Plaza, where the meteor shower can have the backdrop of a calm waterfront.
  • Kick your feet up in your own backyard, assuming you have a clear view of the moon.

Where do you go to watch sky events?

To make sure you get the best view possible, remember to check the weather forecast and conditions before you head outside to watch. 

As of Thursday night, the outlook for Saturday evening in Reston was partly cloudy with temperatures hovering in the mid-50s.

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