The Leonids meteor shower, borne from debris of the Tempel-Tuttle comet, is expected to peak on November 17 and 18 this year. It’s a Saturday night/Sunday morning with a waxing gibbous moon. In other words, it’s the perfect time to sleep under the cosmos before the chill of winter and the Thanksgiving holi-daze descend.
Given that the bright moon, which will be full on November 22, is going to visually drown out Leonids a bit, the predawn hours of November 18 will offer the best viewing time.
This year will be a relatively tepid show, with a predicted rate of 10 to 15 shooting stars per hour. But don’t dismiss the display over the long term.
Every 33 years–give or take–Leonids erupts into a meteor storm. The upgrade to storm requires at least 1,000 meteors per hour. Sounds impressive, right? Well, Leonids has been known to blow right passed 1,000 like no big thing. In 1966, Leonids logged 2,400 to 3,000 meteors per minute!
Bottom line: Enjoy some starlight, pre-holiday peace in 2018. Then mark your calendars for November 2034(ish) for a galactic thunder dome.
Photo by Naivcore
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