The annual Orionid Meteor Shower is this weekend, Friday October 19 until Sunday the 21st!
Here's the scoop. This is the time of year when Earth's trajectory takes us through remnants of Halley's Comet. As we whiz through this particle dust we often see a spike in comets and meteor showers. The peak of this will happen Saturday night/Sunday morning, with a secondary peak Friday night/Saturday morning.
The best times to go view the comets or meteors will be between midnight and 6 a.m. local time. I know this is way past my bed time but I may even stay up for it!
Where to look? Well to the south before dawn. All of the pictures on the left hand side are courtesy www.earthsky.org. It is tough to say exactly how many meteors or 'shooting stars' you will see, but average amounts show about 20-30 per hour. Of course that depends on how much you CAN see, given cloud cover out there.
I'm expecting at least a little clearing for both nights. Rain is in the forecast Friday through Sunday, however mostly during the daylight hours. At night, the rain shower threat will greatly decrease and the clouds may even break apart a little bit. This will be most likely after midnight too, which may even big more fare to the night sky partakers.
I have tried to catch these shooting stars on many occasions but have been unsuccessful thus far. I've tried both the Orionid and Perseids (in August) and have seen maybe one or two comets. I'll try again, with hopes the sky will clear for you and me. I give it about a 50% chance of seeing them given the weather forecast!
-Meteorologist Steve Glazier