OThey are looking to light it again this weekend, as the meteor shower does every mid-November. But this year may come with a little more "shooting star" activity than usual on Friday night in the Americas and early Saturday morning in Europe.
The Leonid meteor shower occurs every year when our planet passes through a cloud of debris left behind by comet 55P / Tempel-Tuttle. The shower is active most of November, but really becomes visible when it peaks this weekend. Unfortunately, the moon must also be 80% full, probably washing some of the 15 predicted meteors per hour.
The Leonids are typically fast falling stars, moving at 44 mph (44 km / s), making them bright and sometimes colorful with trails often lingering in the night sky.
Every 33 years, the Leonids produce a meteor storm when the earth passes through a particularly dense debris bag, resulting in over 1,000 meteors per hour. The effect is described as meteors that appear as rain. While a storm is not expected to occur in 2019, Russian astronomer Mikhail Maslov is predicting possible "activity enhancements" Friday night and Saturday morning.
According to Maslov's calculations, the hourly rate could rise from 20 to 27 meteors between twilight and midnight on Friday on the west coast of the United States.
The real peak of the Leonids occurs the following night, which means the whole weekend can be good for trying to watch this meteor shower. To capture it, it is probably best to go as far as possible from the city lights and find a place with a wide view of the night sky. Lie on your back and let your eyes adjust. Be sure to come together if it is cold, then relax and watch patiently.
If you miss or the weather is not cooperating, there will be another big meteor event next week when theon thursday night. Eyes up!
Originally posted on November 15th at 10:56.