In case you missed the astronomical events that took place in October, another one is happening next week.
The Leonid meteor shower happens annually in November. This year, the shower will peak overnight on Nov. 16-17, Space.com reported.
Stargazers are in for a treat this year, because they’ll see more Leonid meteors than they did in 2019. The crescent moon is set to be illuminated by just 5% on the peak night.
Learn more about what the shower is, when’s the best time to see it and how you can watch it below:
What is the Leonid meteor shower?
According to NASA Science Solar Exploration System, Leonids are considered a major meteor shower, which peak in mid-November each year. Bright meteors, Leonids, can also be colorful and they are fast. They travel at 44 miles per second and are counted among the fastest meteors that exist.
The meteors come from leftover comet particles and pieces of broken asteroids.
“When comets come around the sun, the dust they emit gradually spreads into a dusty trail around their orbits," the NASA website said. “Every year the Earth passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky.”
For those curious about how the shower got its name, Mental Floss reported it comes from Leo, the constellation the meteors seem to shine from when they streak across the sky. In reality, they stem from Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Debris burns in the Earth’s atmosphere as the planet passes through the comet’s tail. The results are an eye-catching shooting-star effect.
When is the best time to see the Leonid meteor shower?
Jane Houston Jones of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory told Today.com that in previous years, the best time to look for the shower was before dawn around 3 a.m. EST on the day of the peak.
How can you watch the Leonid meteor shower?
EarthSky notes that to see the shower, astronomy lovers should locate a dark sky where artificial lights are not in view and watch in a reclining lawn chair and sleeping bag.