If you’re someone who spends as much time looking upward at the stars as I do, you’ll have a great opportunity to witness the Leonid meteor shower in full force between November 16th and November 21st!
The Leonid meteor shower is notoriously spectacular, having produced fascinating displays of light in the sky in the past years. Historically speaking, scientists believe that at one point, the Leonids caused about a hundred-thousand meteors to cover the sky each hour during the Leonid storms. Can you imagine?
The Earth has been travelling through the debris left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle since November 13th, and it will finally make it out of the debris field on the 21st, giving us ample time to witness ‘stars’ blazing through the sky.
NASA meteor scientist Bill Cooke tells us that we should be able to see about 10 to 15 meteors gracing our night skies every hour, and while it most likely won’t be as dramatic or brilliant as in past years, it’s still slated to be quite the show!
When and where should you be for this event? If you’re wanting to find a nice spot to witness the Leonid meteor shower, a bit of general advice may help. Of course, the best time to see any meteor shower is at night in the early hours of the morning, starting sometime around 1 a.m. The showers should be visible from both hemispheres of the globe, meaning you can be anywhere in the world and still see them!
The meteors will look to be coming from the constellation Leo, so if you know where that is, look that way! If you’re not brushed up on your stargazing, one of the best tools you can use to locate celestial bodies is your smartphone. By using apps like SkySafari and Star Walk, you can point your camera upwards and the apps will identify and map out everything in the sky above you!
As for location, your best bet will be anywhere that is completely void of light pollution. As a general rule of the thumb, the less light you’re exposed to, the more you’ll be able to see in the skies. Unfortunately, the light from the recent supermoon will likely dim the skies a slight bit, but we should still be able to see the showers.
Meteor showers are great opportunities to spend some time outside with friends and loved ones as you bundle up together under the dark night sky to catch a glimpse of the celestial show happening above you! If you’ve got clear skies, you’ve got the go-ahead. Have fun with it, and remember to wish upon a star!
Don’t forget to share with friends and loved ones who would be interested in seeing the spectacular Leonid meteor shower!
h/t Sun Gazing