Look Up! The Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend

Katie Ramirez
November 19, 2018

The waxing quarter moon will set at late evening, leaving dark skies for this year's Leonid meteor shower. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Leo but can appear anywhere in the sky.

You will need a warm jacket and patience waiting for what's expected to be around 20 meteors per hour at its peak about three hours before sunrise Sunday.

Accuweather reported there may also be a few "stragglers" from last month's Taurids meteor shower, so you could even see a few more meteors than anticipated.

Space.com reported that Russian meteor expert Mikhail Maslov has predicted that on November 19, 2034, the meteors will fall at a rate of hundreds per hour. But Baker said the number of meteors we can see each year various depending on where the comet is and what material it's left. That is the key to successful viewing is always the lack of "light noise", that is, light from the lamps and screens. You want to have nice, open views of the sky.

We may get some partial clearing Saturday night and, if we do and you happen to be up before dawn on Sunday morning, take a look at the annual Leonid Meteor Shower! But the cold will be worth it since winter skies are the clearest, according to Baker.

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Another astronomy event this weekend is NASA Observing Night Friday night, November 16, from 6 to 9 at MSU's Baker Observatory near Marshfield. You'll also be able to look through two larger telescopes at the observatory.

Earlier on Thursday evening, viewer Genny Skrobanek says she saw a meteor in the skies over San Antonio that "was a attractive green color". Now astronomers may know where it came from.

Along with moonlight, any light pollution should be avoided in order to really see the Leonids. "I was six-years-old when I saw Saturn for the first time, and I still remember it, so I think it's very important to bring the little ones out as well".

So make sure to keep an eye out!

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