A rapid meteor shower, known as the Leonids, will fly by our planet this week on Saturday, November 18th during the early hours of the morning. According to the Planetary Society, a non-profit organization led by Bill Nye that focuses on space education, the shower will also be visible on Friday, November 17th during the early morning.
According to the society, the moon will appear as a crescent during the evening hours. This may result in a darker sky and potentially make the meteor shower easier to see.
The Leonids meteor shower is predicted to have a low rate of 15 meteors per hour, but they are known for their brightness and occasional colorful displays. The fireballs created by the Leonids tend to last longer than typical meteor trails due to their larger particle source.
As stated by NASA, there is a possibility for skywatchers to observe these celestial events during the current year.
The meteors from the Leonids shower that appear close to the horizon and have colorful tails are called Earth-grazers.
When and where is the Leonid meteor shower visible?
According to NASA, individuals interested in viewing the Leonids should search for them at midnight in their own time zone. To get the best view of the night sky, lay down on your back in a location free from artificial light sources and face east. It may take approximately 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, after which you will be able to spot the meteors. The shower will continue until sunrise.
The annual meteor shower typically reaches its peak in mid-November, but every 33 years there is a possibility for viewers on Earth to witness a spectacular event: the Leonids may produce hundreds to thousands of meteors per hour. The number of meteors you can see varies based on your location on Earth, according to NASA.
A meteor storm, also known as a meteor shower containing at least 1,000 meteors, occurred in 1966 and again in 2002 during the Leonids event. For a brief period of 15 minutes during the 1966 storm, an overwhelming number of meteors fell through Earth’s atmosphere, resembling a downpour.