Only last week we witnessed the moon turn a deep orange for the last total lunar eclipse for the next three years. Tonight yet another celestial spectacle is set to bless the skies above with the Leonid Meteor Shower reaching its peak in the dark hours of tonight into early Friday morning.
Typically the Leonid Meteor Shower brings around 10-20 shooting stars an hour during its peak nights but this year rates could reportedly be “nearly 10 times higher than normal.”
The shower, named after the constellation Leo the Lion as the point in the sky where the meteors seem to emerge from, lies in the constellation Leo, could therefore bring “up to 200 shooting stars per hour” making it the top meteor shower of 2022 according to AccuWeather.
Keep an eye out for shooting stars this week as the Leonid meteor shower peaks: https://t.co/v1sl6FqTxC
— AccuWeather Astronomy (@AccuAstronomy) November 16, 2022
Earth encounters the Leonid Meteor Shower every year when it crosses the orbit of a comet named 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. This comet leaves behind a trail of debris that vaporizes in the atmosphere producing one of the best shooting star shows of the year.
Today Earth will swoop near a particularly dense patch of debris around 6 pm CST according to Space.com. The meteors will then become visible around 21:49 CST when its radiant point in Leo rises above the horizon.
Europe and western Asia will have the best view of the meteor shower, while those of us who want to catch a glimpse of the meteors in North America will have to wait until after midnight for the best conditions.
The moon and light pollution play a significant role in observing the meteors. Fortunately, according to the American Meteor Society, the moon will only be 36% full this evening, so the sky seems to be in good condition to see the show, weather permitting.
Time and Date advises driving outside of any city away from the interference of city lights and finding an open secluded viewing spot. Allow your eyes around 20 minutes to get used to the dark.
Of course dress for the weather, with the meteors peaking late into the night a blanket, chair, and other equipment could be needed as meteor watching can be a waiting game.
While you might have picture-perfect 20/20 vision, you can do yourself one better by coming equipped with binoculars to get a closer look at the interstellar spectacle.
Any photographers out there? According to NASA, your best bet is to use a camera with manual focus on a tripod with a shutter release cable or built-in timer, fitted with a wide-angle lens.
[Featured image from Shutterstock]