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Local News

The Leonids Meteor Shower Reaches Its Peak

Credit: iStock

Armand Jackson

November is the month in which night sky observers are treated to the annual Leonids meteor shower. According to NASA, the Leonids every year peak during mid-November with a major shower with bright, colorful meteors that are considered to be some of the fastest. Every 33 years, or so, star gazers may experience a Leonid shower that can peak with hundreds to thousands of meteors seen per hour depending on the location of the observers. NASA claims that Leonids are best viewed starting at about midnight local time and recommends watchers find an area well away from the city or street lights while staying warm from the cooler winter temperatures.

Afterwards, viewers should orient themselves with their feet towards the east, lie flat on their back, and look up at the night sky to give their eyes time to adapt to the dark in order to properly witness the meteors. The Leonids’ peak this year took place after midnight on the 18th and lasted until dawn, with around 15 to 20 meteors being seen per hour under a clear, dark sky depending on how faint the meteors were as the moon being about 35 percent full would obscure fainter ones. But in case you didn’t get the chance to view the Leonids meteor shower at their peak, remember that the showers are still active throughout all of November. 

There are also chances to witness other celestial events before the month ends according to NASA. On November 20th, in the hour before sunrise, viewers should look toward the southeast to find a slim, crescent moon hanging right above bright bluish star Spica, which is a giant star that is apparently ten times the mass of the sun, and 12,000 times more luminous. On November 23rd, night sky viewers will witness a new moon and on November 28th the crescent moon will hang beneath Saturn in the southwest after sunset.