Stunning Leonid Meteor Shower To Light Up The Sky Tonight
The mesmerising Leonid meteor shower is set to peak tonight, November 16, lighting up the sky with a gorgeous cosmic display.
It’s expected that approximately 10 to 15 shooting stars per hour will be visible in the early hours of November 17.
This event has previously produced some of the greatest meteor showers ever seen. For example, in 2001 a fantastic Leonid storm took place, with thousands of meteors raining down over North America and Hawaii.
A Leonid storm, a sight that typically only occurs every 33 years, has not been predicted this year, however stargazers will still find plenty to appreciate this year.
As per EarthSky, the Moon – which is in a waxing crescent phase – will set early in the evening, providing ideal Moon-free conditions by which to observe the display after midnight, a time when most meteors usually fall.
Back garden astronomers will therefore be able to spot fainter shooting stars that would normally be faded in the glow of the Moon.
The Leonid meteor shower is named after the constellation Leo, the lion, where its meteors originate from. However, Earth dwellers don’t have to be looking in the direction of the constellation to catch the show, which will be visible throughout the night sky.
As reported by Space.com, this annual November shower occurs when Planet Earth’s orbit crosses that of Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which makes its way around the Sun every 33.3 years.
This comet leaves behind a trail of dust rubble and, when Earth’s orbit crosses this debris trail, pieces of comet will fall in the direction of the Earth’s surface.
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