Saturday , June 19 2021

Leonid – the top of the meteors: how and when to watch

If you want to dare in the cold morning temperatures, you will have the opportunity to admire the bright strokes of cosmic debris from the November lunoid meteor shower, which is at its peak.

The best time to see this year's Leonids summit will be held on 17-17 November in all time zones in the US from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. The best viewing times are after dusk (early in the morning, when the moon falls into the horizon of the Earth) and just before dawn.

If you look at the meteorite after sunset, there will be less light that would prevent you from watching. And with this weekend moon shining in the almost waxy phase of gibbous, it is better to watch the Leonids without the moon in the sky.

Meteor showers appear when the Earth travels through a thick cloud of comet debris during its orbital journey. What you see are traces of dust left over from years to come. Leonids are usually visible in mid-November, when the Tempel-Tuttle comet sprinkles the Earth's path with rocks and ice.

Read more: A strange object in the shape of a cigar flew through the solar system last year. Now, astronomers can know where they came from.

A meteor band crossing the night sky (upper R) over Rio de Janeiro in early November 17, 1998.

Leonids are known for their fertile, bright meteor storms, each of which has up to 100,000 meteors that fly over the sky at any time. Although this year's shower will not be so huge, experts estimate that people will see up to 20 meteors per hour – slightly more than the average of 10 to 15 meteors usually seen per hour during the Leonids.

Accuweather reported that there may also be a few "marauders" from the Rainy Taurid meteor shower last month, so you could see a few more meteors than expected.

With the moonlight, avoid all light pollution to really see the Leonids. For the best views, EarthSky suggests going to the countryside or an open field with few lights or trees.

Stargazers in Amman are preparing to watch the Leonid meteor shower.
Ali Jarekji / Reuters

Viewers in the western United States (from Nevada to Minnesota) and the southeast have the best viewing conditions. Areas in the south-west and south plains are likely to be covered with clouds, making it difficult to see the Leonids. Parts of the country between the United States and Illinois may also have problems with seeing the shower because this weekend is expected to snow in this region.

The Northeast region will also get a cloud, and a fast wind can make it unpleasantly outside in the middle of the night, says Kristina Pydynowski, a senior meteorologist with Accuweather.

This meteor shower is named after the constellation Leo Lion, from which particles of dust dissipate and radiate. The next major Leonid meteorological storm should not occur before the beginning of the 1920s.

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