Meteor shower to light up the First Coast sky tonight

Meteor shower to light up the First Coast sky tonight

One of the year's major meteor showers will peak this weekend, and viewing conditions figure to be pretty good, clouds permitting. You can prepare for the Leonid meteor shower by arriving earlier to the park and finding a wide open area that has a good view of the sky so that you can spot the meteors all around you.

It is when this cometary debris enters Earth's atmosphere and vaporises that we see the Leonid meteor shower. Some years, they've been a full-fledged meteor storm: The 1833 Leonid meteor storm included rates as high as an incredible 100,000 meteors per hour, Earthsky.org said. Through night, folks on the First Coast will be able to see upwards of 10 to 20 meteors an hour. Particularly bright shooting stars are known as fireball or bolides, created by cometary debris that might initially have been the size of a grape. It happens every November, when Earth's orbit crosses the orbit of Comet Tempel-Tuttle (here's a link to how comments cause meteor showers). Many of these debris streams have drifted across the November portion of Earth's orbit.

Where does the Leonid Meteor Shower come from?

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Telescopes, binoculars, or other equipment aren't required to see Leonid meteors. A moonless night will produce less light to wash out the meteor shower spectacle.

The Leonids began to peak Friday morning, but the early hours of Saturday (November 18) may be the best time to watch: There's a new moon, so the sky will be very dark. The best viewing conditions should be in the Southwest, the Rockies and along the Southeast coast, AccuWeather said. Things look cloudier in the Northeast, Great Lakes region and central Plains, according to AccuWeather.

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