While Wednesday and Thursday were the perfect evenings to “wish upon a star” as the Leonid meteor shower began peaking, there still is time to partake in some serious star gazing! If you were observant you may have seen the sight of shooting stars that streaked across the sky in the previous days, but if not, keep your eye out and you may still catch some stellar sights from the sky.
Scientists say that upwards of a hundred thousand meteors an hour shower the sky when meteor storms occur due to the Leonids. That’s an amazingly high number and definitely a sight to see!
It started on November 13th as our planet has been moving through debris left by the comet Tempel-Tuttle. On November 21st it will exit, so there is still time to get a gaze in if you missed the peak nights. Basically they are tiny bits and pieces of rock and ice that fall off the comet and burn as they are entering Earth’s atmosphere. This year wasn’t expected to be a major outburst, but years past indeed there was a shower of beautiful gems in the sky in massive volume. There should be some good sightings still out there this year though!
To check it out, the best times to view are from darkness into the early morning hours. One or two in the morning seem to be ideal viewing times. Both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres you can view from.
So how do you know what to look at? Of course there’s an app for that! You can use your phone as a navigation tool that tells you exactly where things are out there in the universe, simply by pointing your phone up at the sky where it will chart and identify what you are looking for.
Here are some of the astrology apps available: SkySafari and Star Walk.
Both are easy to use and work very well.
As far as where to physically go on the ground, you will want to find an open and quiet spot away from lights. The general rule is the darker the skies the better. Since there was the recent Supermoon and it was the lightest it’s been in years, it may interfere somewhat with the shower.
You can also check with local forecast to make sure the sky is clear, so you will be able to see the shooting stars appear.
This years Leonid meteor shower provides an awesome chance to get outside for some stellar star gazing! Gather the kids and have a wonderful night out under the stars!