Leonid meteor: Fast, bright meteors light up the night sky

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Known as some of the fastest meteors around, the Leonids shine in the night sky annually during the month of November. Historically, they’re considered some of the most impressive meteor showers ever recorded, largely because of the meteor storm they form about every 33 years, causing thousands of meteors to rain down in the night sky.

This isn’t a stormy year, but there are still plenty of opportunities to see the brilliant Leonids. On Thursday night, the shower is expected to peak at 7 p.m. ET, According to EarthSky. The celestial event will be visible to everyone on the night side of the world at that time.

The Leonid meteor shower is active until December 2, along with the end of the tail Northern Tauride meteor shower. Around its peak, sky detectives will likely spot 10 to 15 meteors per hour. Meteorites move in the opposite direction of Earth’s rotation, causing an almost direct collision with the atmosphere when they intersect. Space rocks are often recorded being launched into the sky at a speed of 44 miles per second (71 kilometers per second) – Some of the fastest meteors generated by one of the major annual meteor showers, according to Robert Lunsford, fireball report coordinator for the American Meteorite Society.

Lunsford said that brighter meteors often leave behind glowing trails and can even leave smoke streaks in the sky for up to several minutes.

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The Leonids family is also known for striking fireballs, which are meteorites so large that they shine brighter than Venus, and Earth grazing, which are meteorites that approach the horizon and are famous for their long and colorful tails, According to NASA.

“They are the fastest meteorites produced among the major annual meteor showers, and they have a certain look to them, like lances, very long and sharp,” said Lunsford. “They’re very impressive, especially the flashy ones, which is why they’re probably among my favorites.”

The forecast for Thursday, around the time of this peak, will be mostly clear skies over the US coasts (New York City and Los Angeles) with a 0% chance of rain, according to Alison Chenchar, a CNN meteorologist. Residents of the Midwest (Chicago) will have less favorable sky-viewing conditions, with overcast skies and a 30% chance of snow.

The best time to stay out looking for a meteorite is Thursday evening through Friday morning, but the meteorite community has speculated that Earth may also be passing through an intense stream of debris left behind in 1733 from Leonids’ comet, Temple-Tuttle. .

If this happens, for a short period of time on Saturday morning around 1 a.m. ET, there could be as many as 250 meteors visible per hour, according to Lunsford. If you’re on Earth’s night side during this time, you could spot a meteor, but it’s best to keep an eye on the eastern horizon to increase your chances. (Those on the US West Coast will have a shorter window to see this explosion, because Leo, the constellation from which the meteors appear, will still be below the horizon.)

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“We went back hundreds of years – because the comet passes through the inner solar system maybe every 33 years – so every one of these trajectories has been plotted,” Lunsford said. “We can pretty much tell the time and date, but we have no idea what the density of the particles is. So, it can be exciting, or it can be worthless.”

The Al Nayzak community He recommends getting outside at least 30 minutes before the peak shower, to allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Since the Moon will rise near the same time as the radiant constellation, it is best to look in a direction away from its light.

Anyone can contribute scientifically useful information just by making some notes about these meteors. … You can go out and count the number of things you can see.” Lunsford said.

“It’s fun, it’s cheap, and it’s a good way for families to get together. If your skies are clear at the time, I don’t want to miss it.”

There are only one more meteor showers you can see before the end of the year, According to the 2022 meteor shower guide from EarthSky. Here are the peak times:

• December 14th: Gemini

• December 22: Ursids

There is one more moon on Old Farmer’s Almanac Calendar 2022: Check out the cold moon on December 7.

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