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Leonid Meteor Shower Visible From UK This Weekend

Leonid Meteor Shower Visible From UK This Weekend

It feels like we've been spoilt for choice with celestial goings-on lately and this weekend we're set for another meteor shower that can potentially be seen from the UK.

After the yearly return of the Orionids, which are visible every October or November, this weekend it's the turn of the Leonids. They're known for being bright and colourful, and some of the moving rocks fly through space at about 44 miles per second.

Putting a spanner in the works though, natural light pollution will mean that fewer shooting stars maybe visible, thanks to the almost full moon.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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There should still be about 14 or 15 an hour though - of course, how many you see is dependent on the weather and cloud cover.

It's also best to look out for it after midnight, with NASA advising any photographers out there to use a wide-angle lens, meaning you will see as much of the sky as possible.

It's also best to avoid light pollution from street lights and if possible, lie flat with your feet towards the east.

Only time will tell, but on the off-chance that it's not cloudy during the peak of the Leonids on Saturday night, the best places in the UK to see the meteor shower are the Shetland Islands and the South East.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Shooting stars are pieces of space debris that often leave visible trains behind them - they can stay around for a few seconds, giving them their name.

The Leonid shower happens because small rocks break off from the Comet Tempel-Tuttle and fall toward the earth. These rocks, or meteoroids, burn up and vaporise before they hit the Earth's surface - causing a streak of hot air as it hits the atmosphere.

It's even better when the comet is closer to the Earth. As it takes 22 of our years to orbit the sun, the next time it will be closest is in about 15 years' time.

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The term Leonid comes from the point where they look like the meteors appear, which in this case is from the constellation Leo.

The Geminids in the Nevada Desert. Credit: PA
The Geminids in the Nevada Desert. Credit: PA

It's predicted by researchers that in 2034, we'll have a chance to see about 2,000 meteors per hour in what they call a 'meteor storm'.

If that seems like a bit long to wait for your next hit of star-geeking, the next major shower will be in the middle of December, when the Geminids will be visible.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, uk news

Amelia Ward

Amelia is a journalist at LADbible. After studying journalism at Liverpool John Moores and Salford Uni (don't ask), she went into PR and then the world of music. After a few years working on festivals and events, she went back to her roots. In her spare time, Amelia likes music, Liverpool FC, and spending good, quality time with her cat, Paul. You can contact Amelia at [email protected]