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UK to see biggest meteor shower of the year tonight

Emma Guinness

| Last updated 

UK to see biggest meteor shower of the year tonight

The dark nights have well and truly crept up upon us, but it's not all doom and gloom if you're willing to look up at the night sky.

And stargazers will be happy to know that the UK is set to see the biggest meteor shower of the year tonight (17 November) - and it sounds genuinely spectacular.


The huge show will involve a whopping 200 shooting stars an hour - yes, you read that right - and it's set to be at its busiest from tonight until early tomorrow morning.


It's also set to be as much as 10 times bigger than your typical meteor shower.

The spectacle is caused by the Earth passing through a comet tail - specifically, that of 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, Wales Online reports. It sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie.

American Meteor Society (AMS) experts Mikhail Maslov and Mikiya Sato explained that the tail will cause as many as 200 meteors an hour not only tonight and tomorrow, but on Saturday as well.

So for anyone who might find themselves working over the next day or so and unable to catch the shower tonight, there will be more opportunities to see it.


Tonight's spectacle is known as the Leonid meteor shower and it's created by debris from the comet that enters our atmosphere at speeds as high as 70 kilometres a second.

These then create the trains which are what we know as shooting stars.

If you're wanting to catch a glimpse of the shower, it will be visible between midnight and dawn tonight.

You will be able to see as many as 200 meteors an hour tonight. Credit: Alamy / Anthony P Morris, Farmoor.
You will be able to see as many as 200 meteors an hour tonight. Credit: Alamy / Anthony P Morris, Farmoor.

Royal Museums Greenwich reports that the meteors visible tonight will actually be as small as a grain of sand and are expect to leave long trails in their wake.

This shower is one of the three still to take place this year, with the next meteor shower being the Geminids shower.

It will reach its peak between 14 December and the 15th and there are expected to be a lot of bright meteors, but unlike tonight, they won't have many trains.

And the last shower of 2022 is the Ursids shower, which will peak very close to the holidays between 22 December and the 23rd.


However, this is expected to be a sparse shower.

That being said, it will still be visible until December 26, so it's worth keeping in mind if you're looking to catch a glimpse of something to make your holidays even more special.

As for tonight, if you're wanting the best possible view of the shower, it's advised that you download a night sky app and find the constellation of Leo - that's where to look!

Featured Image Credit: PAUL BRADLEY / James Bell / Alamy

Topics: News, Space

Emma Guinness
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