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Star Watching and the Orionids Meteor Shower in Eden Prairie

There are more spots open for the star watching program Friday at Staring Lake Observatory. The Orionids meteor shower will be at its peak on Oct. 20-21.

The next couple of weeks will offer Eden Prairie residents some chances to watch the heavens in wonder.

Star Watch at Staring Lake

At 7 p.m. Friday, the Staring Lake Observatory will open its roof and allow residents to look at stars through the telescope. An astronomer will be there to answer questions.

If it's cloudy, there will be an indoor program.

If you can't make it, you can watch a live video.

For more information, see the event listing on Eden Prairie Patch.

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Orionids Meteor Shower

Shooting stars will be flying early in the morning, but it promises to be a show worth watching.

The offspring of Halley's comet are about to put on quite a show over the skies of Eden Prairie.

Earth passes through a stream of debris from Halley's beginning Oct. 15, which gives us the benefit of the annual Orionids meteor shower, though you probably won't see much until a bit later.

The shower should be at its peak the night of Saturday, Oct. 20, until just before dawn on Sunday, Oct. 21. This year, the moon will be setting at about 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, 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 then, Canis Major, home of Sirius, the brightest star we can see—well, aside from the sun.

Something else 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.

Obviously, you'll have more luck catching the shooting stars if you're in a place not polluted by light.

In Eden Prairie, that makes your best bet Staring Lake Observatory, which boasts plenty of wide open and dark spaces. If there is clear weather, the observatory will open up a few hours in the evening.

The area around some of the city's lakes—Neill Lake or Bryant Lake—would also be good viewing spots.

For more information about upcoming events, see the Staring Lake Observatory's Facebook page.

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