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Germany: Clouds and rain to dampen viewing of Orionids late this week

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The Orionid meteor shower will peak later this week; however, viewing will be impacted by clouds throughout the country.

The Orionid meteor shower is a moderate shower that produces about 25 meteors per hour on the peak night.

"The Orionids are one of the top five meteor showers of the year and will bring the best chance to see a shooting star since the Perseids meteor shower in August," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada said.

It's predicted to showcase the greatest number of meteors on Thursday and Friday nights. However, it will be difficult to view due to clouds and a bright, waning gibbous moon, which will limit visibility.

A slow-moving storm system spinning over Germany into this weekend will produce rain and clouds across much of the country.

A thick overcast sky is expected much of the time through Saturday morning before conditions improve Saturday night.

The best conditions are expected in southwest and far southern Germany where some breaks in the clouds are possible, especially on Friday night.

While the highest number of meteors are expected on Thursday and Friday night, improved viewing conditions are possible on Saturday and Sunday night as clouds become less widespread.

People heading out on these nights should still be able to spot a few meteors despite it being several days past the peak of the shower.

The Orionid meteors are usually at their best in the early hours before dawn.

The Orionid meteors, also known as shooting stars, are debris of ice and dust left behind by Comet Halley. The debris particles discarded by the comet plummet into the Earth's atmosphere. Sometimes, the meteors leave a trail of ionized gas, which gives the appearance of a glowing streak.

"Occasionally, the Orionids produce fireballs, meteors that shine extremely brightly for a few quick seconds before fading away," Lada said.

The key to seeing a meteor shower is finding an unobstructed view where you are able to see as much sky as possible. Dark areas in the countryside and parks away from city lights are best.

If skygazers are unable to see the Orionids, a more notable meteor shower, the Geminids, will occur in December of 2016. It is usually the best meteor shower of the year. Stargazers may see as many as 120 meteors per hour at its peak, which can also bring multicolored meteors.