Say what you want of 2020, it’s been a dazzling year in the night sky, withis which continue into November with the appearance of the annual Leonids, peaking this week.
The Leonids can be traced back to Comet 55P / Tempel-Tuttle and have put on some real shows over the centuries in the form of intense meteor storms that produce hundreds of visible meteors per hour.
The American Meteor Society says it is unlikely that we will see such a storm in our lives (the most recent was in 2001), although 2030 may see a minor storm. This year, the Leonids offer the opportunity to see around 15 meteors per hour at the latest on Monday November 16 and Tuesday November 17, when the tiny fragment of the moon won’t produce much interference. Leonids tend to be quite bright with some persistent trains.
To capture Leonids, the best strategy is to venture into the early morning hours before sunrise as close as possible to their respective shower peaks. Step away from light pollution if you can, dress appropriately and find a comfortable place to lie down with a wide and clear view of the sky.
Photos of the 2020 Perseid meteor shower shine bright in a dark year
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So, relax, let your eyes adjust and see. It is not necessary to focus on a particular area of the sky, but if you can locate the constellation of Leo, the Leonids will appear to come from that part of the sky and crawl outward like the spokes of a wheel. Also keep your eyes peeled for a bright taurid fireball, like the.
Enjoy some fire in the sky and stream any epic fireball photos you happen to catch on Twitter @EricCMack.