Leonid meteor shower peaks this weekend: How to watch

Mindy Sparks
November 18, 2018

According to AccuWeather, Alabama and Birmingham will have "good" visibility to see the last big meteor shower of 2018, the Leonid meteor shower. But Saturday, about 3 a.m. ET, will have less moonlight obstructing the view of the meteors in the United States.

The Leonids occur every year around this time when the Earth drifts through the cloud of dust and debris left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle on its trips around the sun. It's one of the most significant and visible showers, along with the Perseids and the Orionids, which took place this year in August and October respectively.

When the skies are clear and dark, you can expect to see about 10 to 15 meteors per hour and, on occasion, an "outstandingly bright meteor (called a "fireball") or a meteor that silently explodes in a strobe-like flash along its path (called a "bolide")", according to Space.

Leonid meteors appear to radiate from a point in the constellation Leo the Lion (hence the shower's name). The meteors blaze into the atmosphere at 44 miles per second, the fastest of any shower meteors.


The Leonid shower should be visible in some parts of the United Kingdom tonight.

Unfortunately, this year's shower won't produce a meteor storm, which is when you can see upward of 1,000 meteors per hour.

Earth will pass through the thickest part of the Leonid swarm at 7 pm EST (2300 GMT) on November 17, however, Space reports the best time to look for the meteor shower will be during the after-midnight hours on Sunday morning.

As is the case with most celestial events, catching a meteor shower is a waiting game. If you want to photograph the Leonid meteor shower, NASA suggests using a camera with manual focus on a tripod with a shutter release cable or built-in timer, fitted with a wide-angle lens.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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