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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

The Orionids are Coming!

The Orionids are Coming!

Sky watchers will be treated to an extraordinary light show this week, as the Earth’s orbit around the sun crosses through the Orionids meteor shower. The Orionids are an annual meteor shower named after the constellation Orion, which sits in the area of the sky where the shower appears. The shower’s peak occurs around October 21 each year.

The meteors seen during the shower are created by the dusty trail Halley’s Comet leaves behind as it orbits the sun. The particles from this trail burn up in our atmosphere, becoming meteors.

The Orionids shower will be visible from October 18th-24th, with the highest period of activity on the 21st. The meteors can be seen with the naked eye. The best time to observe any meteor shower is during the early morning hours, between 2:00 and 5:00 a.m., but meteors will be visible any time after dusk, with a sharp upturn in activity around 11 p.m. Generally, observers can expect to see anywhere from as few as 10 to more than 30 meteors per hour.

To see the Orionids, look high in the eastern part of the sky, near the tip of Orion’s club.

Learn more about meteors here.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.