Find out how to watch the Leonid meteor bathe peaking this weekend

The Leonid meteor bathe, seen in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, California, in 2001

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This yr, the Leonid meteor bathe will attain its peak on the evenings of 17 and 18 November. The Leonids are a very thrilling bathe, recognized for his or her brilliant, fast-moving meteors. With the moon partially lit, at 19 per cent of its full brightness on 17 November, there’s a good likelihood to identify them from anyplace on this planet.

What are meteor showers?

Meteors, or taking pictures stars, are brilliant flashes of sunshine that streak throughout the sky, showing as if from nowhere, and are gone in seconds. They’re attributable to items of particles in house, usually across the measurement of a grain of rice, getting into Earth’s environment and burning up, and so they can occur at any time of the yr. Particular meteor showers happen about the identical time annually, when Earth’s orbit brings us right into a cloud of particles, often left over from a comet.

Why are they referred to as the Leonids?

The Leonid meteor bathe is known as after the constellation it seems to return from, on this case Leo, however it’s truly produced by particles from comet Tempel-Tuttle, often known as 55P.

How can I watch the Leonids?

The most effective time to look is after midnight. Discover a clear spot and maintain your eyes on the sky. The meteors will seem to return from Leo, which yow will discover by trying on the Plough or the Huge Dipper. Search for the 2 stars on the far finish of the Plough, away from the deal with – these are referred to as pointer stars as a result of drawing a line from the underside of the Plough to the highest will level you in direction of Polaris, the North Star. To seek out Leo, hint a line by means of the pointer stars in the other way till you attain a question-mark formed group of stars that make the top of the lion. That stated, you don’t have to have a look at any explicit constellation, as a result of the meteors will cross the sky in all instructions.

What number of meteors will I see?

The longer you’re looking, the higher your probabilities of recognizing meteors. The estimated peak of the Leonids will result in 15 meteors per hour. In case you are fortunate, you may also spot a fireball. These are produced by bigger items of particles and seem a lot brighter than typical meteors, keep seen for somewhat longer and sometimes have seen tails behind them.

Can I see comet Tempel-Tuttle?

Whereas the Leonids occur yearly, comet Tempel-Tuttle gained’t be seen this yr. That’s as a result of it takes about 33 years to orbit the solar, spending most of that point removed from Earth. Across the time the comet reaches its closest method to Earth, the Leonids turn out to be not only a meteor bathe, however one thing referred to as a meteor storm, with over 1000 meteors seen in an hour. The final Leonid meteor storm was in 1996, so we must wait till 2029 for the subsequent one.


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