Leonid Meteor shower- Shooting stars, clear skies and a fine United Kingdom weekend

Leonid Meteor shower- Shooting stars, clear skies and a fine United Kingdom weekend

As long as the sky is clear, the shower should be visible with the naked eye, so there's no need to invest in expensive (or complicated) equipment.

The Leonids are known for being prolific, bright meteor storms with up to 100,000 meteors that whiz through the sky at every hour. This is when viewers will be able to avoid glare from a waxing gibbous moon (which sets before 2 a.m. local time) and the radiant will climb well up in the southeastern sky.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has advised skygazers to find a viewing site far away from city or street lights where there is less light pollution and giving some time to the eyes to adjust to the darkness.

You don't have to stare at a particular patch of sky to witness the meteors.

At least one particularly loud meteor apparently fizzled over the skies of Austin Thursday night, and there might have been as many as three spotted in the past 24 hours over the Lone Star State.

Meteor showers occur when the Earth moves through a dense cloud of comet debris during its orbital journey.

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Note that the Leonids - a meteor shower is the second of the month, which reaches its maximum activity 17, 18 November. Now astronomers may know where it came from. However, you can see the meteors in all directions. For the best views, EarthSky suggests going to the countryside or an open field where there are few lights or trees. It is not predicted that we will get a "meteor storm" this year, but this shower has surprised us in the past - with some fireballs!

Viewers in the western USA (from Nevada up through Minnesota) and states in the Southeast are predicted to have the best viewing conditions.

One account from the 1966 Leonid storm described seeing "dozens of meteors every second. the effect was similar to watching snowflakes race at your windshield while driving in a snowstorm".

This meteor shower got its name from the Leo the Lion star constellation, from which the dust particles disperse and radiate.

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