With a mostly clear sky, and non-invasive moon, star gazers should be able to enjoy the annual Leonid meteor shower this year. Named for its appearance to radiate from the constellation ‘Leo', the Leonids can be seen by the casual stargazers who don't mind hanging out a while. The "peak" is expected to be at 3 am Saturday morning, but meteors can be seen through Saturday night, especially after midnight. These meteors (or brief flashes of light in the Earth's upper atmosphere) come from small meteoroids from the comet Tempel-Tuttle. This shower is more of a "sporadic" meteor shower, with aqn estimated roughly 15 meteors every hour (don't expect the sky to be streaming with lights or anything...)
So, with that, the best tips for viewing are as follows...
-Make sure you have a dark, night sky. Avoid lights from your house, or nearby cities. That light will drown out your view of the stars! If you live "out in the sticks", all the more power to you and your viewing party!
-Grab some warm clothing and blankets and get comfy outside! It's best to grab some warm cover ups and recline back in a lawn chair where you can sit for a while (because again, only a few streaks of light per hour). (I also enjoy a good hot chocolate for stargazing)
-Once you're comfy...look up! You don't necessarily have to look one way or another, but astronomers do say directly overhead, the northern and the southern sky are best. Why? Apparently the brightest and longest meteors are usually about 90 degrees from the radiant (which, if you recall, is the constellation Leo which appears about halfway up the eastern sky).
-Hang out for a while. Keeping your head still may actually allow you to see more! Finally, allowing your eyes to adjust to the darkness for at least 20 minutes should enable you to see a nice show in the night sky.
The weather seems to want to cooperate this go around! Visit our weather page by clicking here!