NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Stargazers, the weather may be cold but the sky is calling for you to check out an excellent viewing of the Leonid meteor shower on Friday morning and potentially Saturday morning.
The Leonid meteor shower started on November 3 and will end in early December. They originate from comet Tempel-Tuttle, and usually takes just over 30 years to orbit the sun one time. Leonids come from the constellation Leo because the meteors radiate outward from the vicinity of the stars representing the lion’s mane.
The timing of the meteor shower will be great because the moon will be at its lowest point in the sky (moonrise is around 3 AM Friday).
NASA says: “The Leonids are best viewed starting at about midnight local time. Find an area well away from the city or street lights.”
They also offer these tips:
- Come prepared for chilly weather, with a sleeping bag, blanket, or lawn chair
- Orient yourself with your feet toward east
- Lie flat on your back and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible
What to expect
For Friday morning’s view of the Leonids, expect up to 15 meteors per hour. While this is not a lot, it’s the quality that counts here. The reason why: the meteors will move fast across the sky, about 45 miles per second. This speed will produce bright & colorful meteors with streaks of the meteor remaining in the sky for a period of time after. This will create beautiful detail of each meteor.
Saturday morning: a bigger show?
According to Space.com, there are model calculations saying that a “Leonid storm” could occur. This means that meteors of about 10-20 times the amount from Friday morning could occur on Saturday morning. This is all due to the interaction of the comet interaction with Earth.
Overall, this is a good year for the Leonid shower. In Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, our skies should be mainly clear for this event, but it will be cold. Dress warm and have a hot drink while enjoying the spectacular views in the sky. Share your photos in the News 2 Weather App.