The Leonids meteor shower is at its peak tonight – how to see it in the UK

The Leonids meteor shower is at its peak tonight - how to see it in the UK

Leonids are very fast moving and bright meteors and – if the sky is clear – those looking up at the sky can see 15 shooting stars per hour.

Here is everything you need to know about this

What are Leonids?

Leonids come from the remaining particles from the comet 55b / Temple-Dutt.

These fireballs exit the Leo galaxy.

The views are best when the comet – 33 years from orbiting the sun – is closer to Earth.

The last time this happened was in 2009, when 500 shooting stars were recorded every hour.

The next such event is predicted to be about 13 years from now.

What time is the meteor shower tonight?

Most meteor showers are best seen after midnight and when the sky is dark at dawn.

What is NASA saying?

NASA advised: “Leonids are best seen starting at midnight local time. Find an area from the city or street lights.

“Come ready with a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair for winter temperatures.

“Look with your feet facing east, lie flat on your back, look up, and take in the sky as much as possible.

“Within 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes embrace and you begin to see the meteor.

“Be patient – the show lasts until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.”

How to see Leonids

This particular celestial phenomenon is called Leonids because the shooting stars appear to “radiate” from the constellation Leo.

You will want to look to Leo for the best chance of finding meteorites, however they may appear at any time in the night sky.

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Meteor spotters should be viewed with as little light pollution as possible; Those in the countryside will undoubtedly get a clearer view.

The weather plays an important role and cloudy nights can block the chances of finding any meteor, so keep an eye on local weather forecasts.

When is the next meteor shower?

If you miss the Leonid meteor shower tonight, two more showers are planned by the end of the year.

Geminits will peak from December 13-14, while Ursides will peak from December 21-22.

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Cary Douglas

About the Author: Cary Douglas

Wayne Ma is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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