The Leonids meteor bathe, which peaks Nov. 17-18, has produced a number of the biggest meteor storms in historical past and is able to producing 1000’s of meteors throughout a 15-minute span, as occurred on Nov. 17, 1966. This yr, there isn’t any moon to intrude on the Leonids meteor bathe, which NASA calls “the greatest meteor show of all time.”
As with most meteor showers, the perfect time to view them is after midnight via the pre-dawn hours. While the Leonids produce storms some years, this is not anticipated to be considered one of them, say the consultants at earthsky.org. To earn “storm” standing you want greater than 1,000 meteors an hour, and astronomers predict solely 10 to 15 meteors per hour this yr. Still, seeing even one brilliant meteor could make your evening.
The Leonids’ father or mother comet – Tempel-Tuttle – takes 33 years to make a full orbit across the solar, releasing contemporary materials alongside the best way. The Leonid meteor storm of 1833 was mentioned to have generate greater than 100,000 meteors an hour.
“Some who witnessed the 1966 Leonid meteor storm said they felt as if they needed to grip the ground, so strong was the impression of Earth plowing along through space, fording the meteoroid stream,” earthsky.org says. “In most years, though, the constellation of Leo the Lion whimpers rather than roars, producing about 10 to 15 meteors an hour, especially just before dawn this year. Unfortunately, the bright light of a waning gibbous moon will offer some competition.”
But there’s some excellent news about this mid-November celestial occasion. Meteors will proceed to graze the sky till Nov. 21, and the waning moon can be at its third quarter, which implies solely half of the moon’s face will intrude with meteor watching, based on area.com.
Meteors can be seen to the unaided eye, so you will not want any particular gear to see them. “Go outside, find a dark sky, lie flat on your back and look straight up,” NASA meteor skilled Bill Cooke advised Space.com, “and be prepared to spend a couple of hours outside.”
In Maryland, Friday evening is the time to search for fireballs, with the National Weather Service predicting partly cloudy skies. Saturday evening can be a washout, with an 80 % likelihood of rain.
Where Should I Look?
The Leonids, that are related to the comet Tempel-Tuttle, get their title from the constellation Leo and appear to radiate from that a part of the sky, however it’s not essential to look in any explicit path to see them.
See Also: Patch 2017 Guide To Meteor Showers, Other Celestial Events
Leonids meteor bathe: This bathe, which runs yearly from Nov. 6-30, is each common and distinctive. It’s common in that it’ll solely produce about 15 meteors an hour at its peak on the evening of Nov. 17 and morning of Nov. 18, however each 33 years, it has a cyclonic peak that leads to lots of of meteors an hour. The final time this occurred was in 2001, so it will likely be 2034 earlier than that occurs once more. Produced by mud grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, found in 1865, the meteors radiate from the constellation Leo, however simply search for and you need to see some. With a brand new moon, skies must be darkish sufficient for a superb present. The finest viewing time is after midnight.
Geminids meteor bathe: You’ve been ready for this one, too, and it’ll outshine the Perseids. Running yearly from Dec. 7-17, it peaks the evening of Dec. 13 and morning of Dec. 14, when it might produce as much as 120 multicolored meteors per hour. It’s left behind by particles mud from an the 3200 Phaethon asteroid, found in 1982. A waning crescent moon will not give a lot competitors, and you ought to be in for a wonderful present. The finest viewing time is after midnight. The taking pictures stars radiate from the constellation Gemini however can seem wherever within the sky.
Ursids meteor bathe: Produced by mud grains left behind by the comet Tuttle, first found in 1790, this bathe runs yearly from Dec. 17-25 and can peak in 2017 on the evening of Dec. 21 and morning of Dec. 10. It’s a minor bathe, producing solely about 5 to 10 taking pictures stars an hour. The crescent moon will set early within the night, leaving darkish skies. The finest viewing time is simply after midnight. Meteors radiating from the constellation Ursa Minor are seen wherever within the sky.
This story was written by Patch Editor Deb Belt with reporting by Patch National Editor Beth Dalbey.
Photo of meteor bathe by Juskteez Vu on Unsplash
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