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Leonid meteor showers are still active. How to watch the show


A Leonid fireball conquered over Sweden in 2015.

Spaceweather.com/Andre Pooschke

Say what you will about the dangers of 2020. It has been a dazzling year for skywatchers too bright comets and abundant meteor showers which continues this month with the appearance of the annual Leonids, which last until the end of November.

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

The American Meteor Society says it is unlikely we will 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 up to 15 meteors per hour. The shower peaked on Tuesday, November 17, but it remains active until Monday, November 30, so you may still be able to see a handful per hour with a little luck. The Leonids tend to be pretty bright with some sustained trains.

To catch all Leonids, the best strategy is to venture out early in the morning / preceding hours as close to the respective peaks of the showers as possible. Remove yourself from light pollution if you can, dress appropriately and find a comfortable place to sit back with a clear, wide view of the sky.

Then relax, let your eyes adjust and just look. It is not necessary to focus on a specific area of ​​the sky, but if you can spot the constellation Leo, the Leonids appear to originate from that part of the sky and strike outward like spokes on a wheel. Also keep an eye out for a bright Taurid fireball like that Northern taurids are also active.

Enjoy a small fire in the sky. And pass on any epic fireball images you happen to catch; on Twitter I’m @EricCMack.

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