If you’re trying to prepare for the Leonid meteor shower, the good news is that this weekend is going to be spectacular. The Leonid meteor shower is an annual event that occurs around November 17 and 18. It happens every year when our planet’s orbit crosses a trail of dust and debris left behind by the Tempel-Tuttle Comet. However, a dense swarm of Leonid meteors comes to Earth about every 33 years, which is how long it takes Tempel-Tuttle to orbit the Sun.
Although the show is not as spectacular as it used to be some centuries and even decades ago, it’s still a treat for amateur astronomers. This guide will help you prepare for the Leonid meteor shower.
When to prepare for the Leonid meteor shower
If you have been following such events for some time, you may remember that the visibility of the meteors last year was very poor. That was mainly because the moon shined more brightly than some of the meteors. However, given that the new moon will take place on November 18, stargazers can rest assured that no moonlight will prevent them from enjoying the meteor shower.
According to Space.com, the moon will show its face only briefly around sunset, which means that there will be great viewing conditions for everyone who wants to see the meteors. It is also recommended to observe the sky around the midnight hour and early the next morning. Astronomy enthusiasts may have already spotted some meteors within the last few days.
Where to observe the sky
It’s best to drive yourself away from the city lights so they don’t interfere with your view when the shower starts peaking. However, many people agreed that they can see meteors from their yards, decks, streets, and even highways around cities. Nevertheless, somewhere out in the country is always the best location for observing events that occur in the night sky, according to Earthsky.org.
If you can’t go too far out of town, visit your city park, as they are also great locations to watch meteor showers. You can prepare for the Leonid meteor shower by arriving earlier to the park and finding a wide open area that has a good view of the sky so that you can spot the meteors all around you.
What are the best conditions?
The stage of the moon and weather conditions are very important when it comes to viewing a meteor shower. While the moon will be barely visible in the sky and is nearing its new moon stage, the same can’t be said for the weather forecast. As weather conditions are mixed for many states, make sure to take a look at the weather forecast to make sure the sky will be clear enough for observing the meteor shower.
If you typically have trouble staying up late, make sure to take a nap before the meteor shower to make the most of it. This year, it’s expected that the hourly rate of meteors will be 10 to 20.