Look Up! The Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend

Every November our planetary home crosses through the debris field left in the path of Comet Tempel-Tuttle to produce the Leonid Meteor Shower. The Leonids started being active in early November.

 

Saturday night November 17th into the early predawn hours of Sunday, November 18th. WLBT Meteorologist, Rachel Coulter, gives us the forecast for the peak times of the shower!

Tips and tricks to watching meteor showers:

  • Get far away from the lights of cities and towns- get there early and start staring at the dark sky because your eyes take anywhere from 15-25 minutes to get adjusted to the dark

  • Dress accordingly and bring a jacket if weather calls for one- jackets, hats and blankets are needed for this weekend!

  • Bring a blanket or lawn chair to plop down on for the next few hours

  • Probably most importantly- pack a lot of patience and look east in the vicinity of the constellation Leo.

 

The experts at NASA suggest, “Orienting yourself with your feet towards the east, lie flat on your back, and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible. In less than 30 minutes in dark your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Be patient — the show will last until dawn.”

With good conditions, you should be able to see between 10 to 15 meteors per hour during the peak hours. Check out this interactive map to find the direction of the radiant in the sky to look towards.

While the meteors will appear to be coming from the constellation Leo, for which they are named, that is not the best place to look for them as the meteors will be more dramatic across the night sky if you don’t focus directly on the constellation. The meteors you see are actually debris cast off from the small comet Tempel-Tuttle that orbits the sun once every 33 years.

According to NASA the Leonid Meteors, which travel at 41  miles per second are considered some of the fastest, and they are also some of the brightest and most colorful.

ber- around the 6th, but the peak shower will be on the 17th and 18th this month.

This year’s celestial show is expected to peak late