Leonid Meteor Shower 2017: What is the best time to watch the Leonids? | Science | News

has described the Leonids as “some of the fastest meteors out there”, so stargazers will have to keep their eyes peeled if they are to stand a chance of catching a glimpse. 

The space agency said that the Leonid Meteor Shower produce about 10 to 15 meteors per hour at its peak. 

Although this is a relatively few compared to other showers, the Leonids tend to burn brightly. Sometimes the shooting stars have an array of colours. 

The shower will peak on Friday November 17 and Saturday November 18 but individual meteors are visible until next month. 

What is the best time to watch the Leonids?

The Leonids are best viewed when is the sky is darkest between midnight and the very beginning of sunrise. 

How to watch the Leonids

To maximise your chances of seeing the , seek out a rural location away without street lamps and other light pollution. 

Nasa says: “Orient yourself with your feet towards east, lie flat on your back, and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible. 

“In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. 

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

As their name suggests, the Leonids radiate from the constellation Leo the Lion. 

Nasa recommends viewing the Leonids away from the radiant point to help the meteor streaks appear longer. 

Every 33 years or so, thousands of meteors burst across the sky in what is known as a Leonid Storm.

Unfortunately, the breathtaking storm occurred in 2003 and is not due to happen again until 2034.

What will viewing conditions be like?

In 2016, a waning gibbous moon blocked many of the meteors from view.

But skywatchers could be in luck this year. Visibility is expected to be helped by the fact there is a new moon, which produces no lunar light.

Cloud coverage can make or break a meteor shower, so keep an eye on weather conditions for the Leonid’s peak. 

Based on the Met Office’s five-day forecast, clear skies are most likely in the south if the UK, with showers expected in the north on Friday and Saturday. 

The Met Office said: “Sunny spells on Friday but feeling cold in the wind across the north with heavy showers. Dry, bright and chilly on Saturday before rain pushes across all parts during Sunday.”

How to watch the Leonids online

If you cannot watch the spectacle in the night sky, you can still stream the entire shower online. 

Robotic telescope service Slooh will be live streaming the Leonid Meteor Shower from midnight (GMT) on November 18.

The show will include commentary and analysis from a number of astronomy experts, but does require viewers to sign up for a free Slooh membership. 

What is the Leonid Meteor Shower?

The Leonids are produced by the dust and debris left behind by comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.

Discovered in 1865, Tempel-Tuttle is 2.24 miles across and orbits the Sun every 33 years. 

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