Published: Sat, November 16, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

The Leonid meteor shower peaks this weekend

The Leonid meteor shower peaks this weekend

An estimated rate of 400 meteors per hour could peak on Thursday night, but you'll want to get out a half-hour before peak time (about 11 or 11:15 p.m.).

The post Don't forget to catch the Leonid meteor shower this weekend appeared first on UNTV News. Some scientists believe 2019 could be one of those years.

The Leonid shower happens because small rocks break off from the Comet Tempel-Tuttle and fall toward the earth. Don't be alarmed, the particles from the debris field are only the size of a grain of sand. These rocks, or meteoroids, burn up and vaporise before they hit the Earth's surface - causing a streak of hot air as it hits the atmosphere.

Unfortunately, this year's shower won't produce a meteor storm, which is when you can see upward of 1,000 meteors per hour.

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If Earth passes through the dense part of the debris field as it did in the years Jenniskens mentioned in the link above, we could be in for a treat.

Look up on Saturday and Sunday night as well to spot bright meteors with trains streaming behind them. It is important to be far away from artificial lights.

It's also best to look out for it after midnight, with NASA advising any photographers out there to use a wide-angle lens, meaning you will see as much of the sky as possible. The shower itself is expected to be mild, and there will be a waning gibbous moon lighting up the predawn sky.

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