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The Leonid meteor shower is peaking this week. How to watch the show



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A Leonid fireball captured over Sweden in 2015.

Spaceweather.com/Andre Pooschke

Say what you want about 2020, it’s been a dazzling year in the night sky, with bright comets and abundant meteor shower which continue throughout November with the appearance of the annual Leonids, peaking this week.

The Leonids can be traced back to Comet 55P / Tempel-Tuttle and have put on some real shows over the centuries in the form of intense meteor storms that produce hundreds of visible meteors per hour.

The American Meteor Society says we’re unlikely to see such a storm in our lifetime (the most recent was in 2001), although 2030 may see a minor storm. This year, the Leonids offer the opportunity to see about 15 meteors per hour on Monday, November 16 and Tuesday, November 17, when a moon’s tiny strip won’t cause much disturbance. The Leonids tend to be quite bright with some sustained trains.

To catch Leonids, the best strategy is to venture out in the early morning before sunrise, as close as possible to the respective peaks of the showers. If possible, remove yourself from light pollution, dress appropriately, and find a comfortable place to recline with a clear, expansive view of the sky.

Then relax, let your eyes adjust and just watch. There is no need to focus on a particular part of the sky, but if you can spot the constellation Leo, it looks like the Leonids have come from that part of the sky and jump out like spokes on a wheel. Also keep an eye out for a bright Taurid fireball, such as the Northern and Southern Taurids are also active.

Enjoy a fire in the sky and pass on any epic fireball photos you happened to take on Twitter @EricCMack.




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