Don’t Miss The Incredible Meteor Shower Set To Light Up The Sky Tonight
Bonfire Night has been and gone for another year, but now it's Mother Nature's turn to put on a fireworks display of her own.
Each year the Leonid Meteor Shower lights up the skies in November, with this weekend marking the peak time to catch its spectacular display.
While the shower is expected to be visible in some areas each night from November 15 to November 20, the best time to try to take in the view will be tonight (November 17) and early Sunday morning (November 18).
But for those hoping to get a look in this weekend, be warned that the conditions need to be just right. Weather forecasts predict much of the UK will be cloudy on Saturday, apart from the very north of Scotland.
Although this will make stargazing tricky, the Evening Standard reports that on Sunday morning the skies should be 'generally clear' in the very early hours. The best time to watch is from 12am to 6am, as there'll be less light to interfere.
The Leonid has a sparkling history, with rates of nearly 100,000 meteors per hour recorded in 1833. At a predicted average of only 10 to 15 meteors per hour visible over this weekend, it's not quite headed for a landmark year. Either way, you're still in for a visual treat.
As AccuWeather Astronomy blogger Dave Samuhel explained: "Twenty meteors per hour are likely through the peak, which makes it more active than the recent Taurid meteor shower."
If you're looking to understand the reason behind the Leonid shower, it occurs when meteoroids fall towards the planet after breaking off from the Comet Tempel-Tuttle. As they burn up and vaporise before hitting the Earth's surface, it causes a bright streak of hot air to appear behind it. This is what we see when we we're looking at a shooting star.
Be warned that as well as factoring in the time, depending on where you are in the country will impact what you see. Dr John Mason, from the British Astronomical Association, said: "If you are in the countryside you may see a few meteors, if it is the town or city, you may not see any at all."
But if you are in the country or you're willing to take an excursion to enjoy the astronomical display, gather your loved ones, get those binoculars out, wrap up warm and marvel at the natural light show.
Featured Image Credit: PA