The best time to see the Orionids is in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday. But because the meteor shower is known for its extended peak, you have a good chance of seeing shooting stars if you get up early over the next several days as well.
The National Weather Service forecasts partly cloudy skies Thursday night along with a slight chance of thunderstorms Friday night. Expect partly cloudy skies Saturday night.
You won’t get any lunar light influence because the moon will have set before the peak viewing hours. The shower continues through Nov. 7, and its peak reliably produces about 20 meteors an hour.
MORE: 2020 Guide To Meteor Shower And Celestial Events
The trails of the Orionids appear to originate from the constellation Orion and the bright star Betelgeuse, but they can be seen from anywhere in the sky. The ancient shower is produced by dust grains left behind by the comet Halley.
Some of the meteors you see may come from the long-running Taurid meteor shower, which runs annually from Sept. 7 to Dec. 10 and peaks Nov. 4-5. This shower isn’t particularly prolific, producing about five to 10 meteors an hour at the peak.
What makes this shooting star show unusual is that the meteors come from separate debris streams — dust grains left behind Asteroid 2004 TG10 and debris from Comet 2P Encke. A first-quarter moon at the shower’s peak may block out all but the brightest meteors. After midnight is the best time to look for meteors, which radiate from the constellation Taurus but can be seen anywhere in the sky.