The Leonid Meteor Shower Is About to Peak, Here's When to Look Up
You could see up to 15 meteors per hour.
On this fine Wednesday afternoon, I am a bearer of wonderful space news. If you were itching for some celestial happenings this week, you're in luck. The roaring Leonid meteor shower is upon us, and it is set to peak this weekend.
Conditions couldn't be better. According to EarthSky, the shower is expected to peak in the morning of November 18, which means that the night between November 17 and 18 is your best bet to see a slew of shooting stars. Light pollution won't be a thing, as the first quarter moon is set to fall on November 20, leaving the night sky of the days right before much darker. Now, this doesn't mean that there won't be any moonlight—but what it does mean is that it won't interfere much with your stargazing experience.
In order to best witness the phenomenon, you should aim to camp out late on the night of November 17 until dawn on November 18. You have to be patient as well—Leonids aren't super intense in terms of frequency, and viewers might catch 10 to 15 meteors per hour during peak.Which direction you look is also important to have the best possible meteor shower experience. As the name suggests, the Leonids name comes from the constellation of Leo, because they follow an outward direction from the stars forming the Lion's Mane. So, to best see them, locate the Leo constellation in the sky and look around there—as EarthSky points out, meteors usually aren't visible until they are around 30 degrees away from their radiant (origin) point, and from there they go out in all directions, covering different parts of the sky.
As per usual, don't forget the basics. Try and find the darkest possible location, like the nearest Dark Site or a place with very low light pollution. Once that's settled, no binoculars or equipment is necessary—just bring your own eyes, and allow them 30 minutes to adapt to the dark. After that, you should be able to see a few meteors. And as NASA recommends, get comfortable—bring a blanket or a sleeping bag with you and lie flat on your back. Happy stargazing!