Thursday , May 13 2021

Watch Leonid Meteor Shower this weekend: NPR



This light meteor was seen in the sky above Wrightwood, California, during the Leonid Meteor storm in 1966. Storms are more intense than showers, but every year, Leonid meteors stretch over the night sky in November.

NASA / Getty Images


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NASA / Getty Images

This light meteor was seen in the sky above Wrightwood, California, during the Leonid Meteor storm in 1966. Storms are more intense than showers, but every year, Leonid meteors stretch over the night sky in November.

NASA / Getty Images

While some may say the weekend before Thanksgiving is too early to wish for a holiday, Leonid Meteor Rain gives so many opportunities every year.

This year, the shower of shooting stars is expected to peak late Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Always in mid-November, according to NASA, an average of about 15 meteors per hour is above the night sky below the annual shower of the shower.

The cascade will compete with a growing gibbous moon, so the best time to watch is when the moon has set but before dawn.

NASA suggests finding a viewing spot far from city or street lighting and giving the eyes time to adapt to the darkness.

"In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adjust and you will start seeing meteors," writes space agency.

Also observers should be patient and prepared to be cozy, bring sleeping bag, blanket or lawn. They should also check the weather – clouds can ruin the view and be cold can ruin the experience.

In the night sky it will look like the meteors come from the constellation Leo, giving the shower its name. But this is neither their origin nor the best part of heaven to look for them.

"It's actually better to see Leonids away from the radiation: they will look farther and more spectacular from this perspective," states NASA.

The meteors themselves come from the 55P / Tempel-Tuttle comet, which complements a path around the sun every 33 years. When the comet passes the sun, a junk trace is created. The Earth then passes through the space dust every November.

This process means that every 33 years or so viewers on earth can experience a Leonid storm, which is much larger in intensity than a Leonid shower and can produce hundreds to thousands of meteors per hour.

"These outbreaks of meteor activity are best seen when the parent object, the 55P / Tempel-Tuttle comet, is close to perihelion. However, it's not the fresh material we see from the comet but rather junk from earlier returns that also happens to be closest to the same time ", writes American Meteor Society.

Such an outbreak occurred in 1966, with thousands of meteors blowing over the sky for 15 minutes.

NASA hosts a web page compiling the 1966 Storm Eyewitness Account and one of these eyewitnesses, Mike Jones, a cadet at Fort Wolter near Mineral Wells, Texas, when he found that dozens of meteors fall from the night sky every second.

"1966 Leonidstorm will always remain a natural wonder, I never forget, the night the sky rained fire!" Jones wrote.


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