The offspring of Halley's Comet will put on quite a show in the skies of Mountain View.
Earth's orbit has taken it through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet since Oct. 15, which give us the benefit of the annual Orionids meteor shower.
The shower should be at its peak the night of Saturday, Oct. 20, until just before dawn on Oct. 21. This year, the moon will set 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.
In Mountain View the best spots would be in the middle of a dark open field. However, the public parks and trails only remain open until one hour after sunset. So long as you get away from the city lights any dark street should work too. So head up San Antonio Road toward Terminal Boulevard and hang out at the edge of Shoreline Park. Try not to get caught in the traffic on Shoreline Boulevard because of the Bridge School Benefit Concert. Perhaps the parking lot of Mountain View High would work.
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 make sure you get the best view possible, remember to check the weather forecast and conditions before you head outside to watch.