The weekend we left behind brought one of the last major meteor shows of the year as the Leonids streak across the sky.
Today is the last day of the peak of the Leonid meteor shower, so go ahead and look up – I guarantee you it’s more than worth it.
You will witness around 10 to 20 shooting stars to appear every hour. The meteors, which will be travelling at around 44 miles per second, will appear as bright, colorful streaks across the night sky.
This particular meteor shower happens when Earth passes through the field of debris left behind by theicy parent comet known as Tempel-Tuttle discovered independently by American Horace Tuttle and German Ernst Wilhelm Tempel in the 1860s. Temple-Tuttle comet comes by Earth every 33 years or so and it burns up in our atmosphere, appearing to us as a meteor shower.
The name “Leonid” arises from the fact that the meteors appear to come from the constellation Leo.
The Leonids are famous for sparking spectacular meteor storms that, in the past, have showcased hundreds of thousands of meteors per hour, however, unfortunately, we will not be in for such treat this year, which shouldn’t stop you from witnessing the already beautiful sight.
“Twenty meteors per hour are likely through the peak, which makes it more active than the recent Taurid meteor shower,“ AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said.
Although the peak of the Taurids has passed, people may spot a few stragglers while out looking for the Leonids, adding to the total number of meteors visible per hour.
The best viewing conditions on the peak of the Leonids is expected across the interior West and the southeastern United States.
People planning to head outside this weekend for the peak of the meteor shower should bundle up for the chilly November nights and find a spot away from city lights.
“City, state and national parks are often great places to watch meteor showers. Be sure to go to the park early in the day and find a wide-open area with a good view of the sky in all directions,” EarthSky said.
Additionally, avoiding looking at lights and cell phone screens will allow your eyes adjust to the dark, making it easier to see dimmer meteors.
Enjoy the show in the beautiful night sky!
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