Sunday , April 11 2021

2018 Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks This weekend! Here's what to expect

We arrive in the morning of Sunday (November 18), the famous Leonid meteor storm will reach its peak, with lower expected figures in the next and following mornings.

According to Margaret Campbell-Brown and Peter Brown in the 2018 Observers Manual of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the Earth will pass through the thickest part of the Leonid swarm at 7 in the morning. EST (2300 GMT) on November 17. But the best time to look will be during the hours after Sunday night, once the source that the meteors appear, radiant call, reaches the horizon for observers in North America. The meteors seem to fly away from a point located within the Death of Leo (hence the name "Leonids").

In fact, the best time to observe the Leonidas is as close as possible at dawn. This is the time when viewers can avoid the glare of a waxed gibbous moon (which is set before 2 am local time) and the radiators will rise well in the southeast sky. [Leonid Meteor Shower: When, Where & How to See It]

This NASA chart shows where to look for Leonid meteor shower in 2018 at night on November 17 and November 18.

This NASA chart shows where to look for Leonid meteor shower in 2018 at night on November 17 and November 18.

Credit: NASA

Under the ideal conditions of the dark sky, a single observer can expect to see between 10 and 15 of these ultrasave meteors every hour. They accumulate our atmosphere more than 45 kilometers per second, faster than any other meteor shower. Therefore, until half they leave visible routes and, from time to time, it can be treated with an extraordinarily brilliant meteor (called "fireball") or a meteor that explodes silently in a flash like the strobe along its path (called " bolide "). These meteors become so bright that they can shoot different shadows.

Since November, mornings are often quite cold, shameless in the cold, the best suggestion is to make sure and group. The best piece of equipment for observing meteors is a long chair in which you can sit back and watch without putting any stress on the neck. Look at the sky, keep your eyes and look no where. Very soon you will see a ray in the sky; Mentally track backwards. When another streak comes, also go back and see if it came from the same region as the first sky.

When a third ray appears, you must be able to verify that the point of emanation is within the Falha, a pattern of branded stars with backward versions that marks the head and the hair of Leon, the Lion.

What most people remember about the Leonidas are the spectacular screens of meteors that staged during the period of time from 1998 to 2002. In some cases, the meteors fell at speeds of up to 3,000 per hour. Due to these great displays, the interaction of the Earth with dense dust coils that immediately drag behind the Comet 55P / Tempel-Tuttle, which drains traces of dusty comets into space every time the sun goes down to approximately 33 years. The comet reached the end of its orbit, called the apiary, in 2014, so the lions have been weak in recent years.

Unfortunately, on its way back to the sun, the comet will pass near Jupiter, whose powerful gravitational field will significantly distract the comet's orbit and its companions and dense dusty paths. Therefore, they are unlikely to produce meteor "storms" in Leonid's next cycle. Even so, there is the possibility of carrying out some significant activity. Russian meteor, Mikhail Maslov, predicted that on November 19, 2034, the dusty ways demolished by the comet in 1699 and 1866 would partially coincide with its interaction with the Earth, possibly producing meteoric rates in many hundreds per hour. It is not a meteor "storm", but even so it can be a very impressive screen.

Mark your calendars!

Editor's note: If you pick up a surprising Leonid meteor photo you want to share with and our news partners for a possible gallery of images or stories, send your photos to our team at [email protected]

Joe Rao serves as a guest instructor and professor at Haymarket Planetarium in New York. He writes about astronomy for Natural History, Almanac from farmers and other publications, and is also a camera meteorologist for Verizon FiOS1 News at Lower Hudson Valley in New York. Follow us on Twitter @ Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Original article on

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