November 30, 2023

Brighton Journal

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How to see shooting stars

How to see shooting stars

You’ll have something to look forward to in the sky before the weekend.

The annual meteor shower is set to peak early Saturday, giving people the chance to see bright and perhaps colorful meteors in the predawn hours.

Although not the most active meteor shower of the year, the Leonids are still capable of producing about 15 meteors per hour under clear conditions. The crescent moon is also setting in the evening this weekend, which should lead to dark skies not washed out by the bright moonlight.

To spot meteors, NASA recommends heading outside around midnight. As with any meteor shower, it is best to choose a viewing location away from street lights or other forms of light pollution. Next, be prepared to settle down and rest, which may mean braving the cold temperatures of mid-November.

Meteors will appear streaming in all directions from the constellation Leo, which rises in the east after midnight this month. You should head east, and choose a lookout point with a wide view of the sky.

Leonids occur in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

The Leonid meteor shower lasts from November 3 to December 2, but the sky shows a peak in activity early Saturday. If conditions are clear, you can also see a beautiful display before dawn on Friday or late at night on the same day.

Leonids are usually bright meteorites and shooting stars can be colorful. According to NASA. It is also one of the fastest meteorites, traveling at an astonishing speed of about 44 miles per second, the space agency said.

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The Leonid meteor shower occurs every year in November, as Earth passes through trails of debris from Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. The comet was discovered twice independently – once in 1865 by Ernest Temple and again in 1866 by Horace Tuttle.

It takes Comet Tempel-Tuttle 33 years to complete one orbit around the Sun. Once every 33 years or so, comet particles can produce a meteor storm, with hundreds to thousands of meteors per hour observed during the peak. One such Leonid storm occurred in 1966, when thousands of meteors shot across the sky over a 15-minute period, according to NASA. The agency said the last meteor storm occurred in 2002.