BOSTON (CBS) – A treat awaits tonight. An annual tradition in November like no other. . . no not turkey and filling, but the Leonid meteor shower!
Every year around this time, the earth traverses the dusty trail of debris left by Comet Tempel-Tuttle. The Leonids are one of our most reliable meteor shows every year. As long as the skies are clear and you are patient, you will almost certainly catch a few falling stars!
Current forecasts assume around 10-15 meteors per hour this year.
A few tips on how to best see the Leonids tonight …
First of all, the Leonids stream from the constellation Leo, which unfortunately rises above the eastern horizon well after midnight. While you are seeing a few meteors this morning, your best shot is between 2am and dawn.
Heads up! The Leonid meteor shower peaks tonight at 10-15 an hour! pic.twitter.com/8xc4WZQzhs
– Terry Eliasen (@TerryWBZ) November 16, 2020
Find an area with as little artificial light pollution as possible. Set up the garden chair, sit back, and focus on a section of the night sky (preferably facing northeast or southeast). Dress up warmly and be patient!
Oh, and don’t blink! The Leonids are one of the fastest moving meteors you will see here on earth. You can reach a speed of an amazing 44 miles per second!
And in short, every 33 years, when the comet makes a return visit, we have the chance of a breathtaking show with up to 100 or more meteors per hour. The last such event was in 1998, we’ll get another shot in 2031 (so mark your calendars!).
Of course, I wouldn’t be sure if I left you with no forecast for tonight! The sky is mostly clear during the first half of the night, with some higher clouds pouring in before dawn. Probably not enough to ruin the show for most of you. Temperatures will be cool and drop overnight in the 30’s with winds from the west slowly lowering at dawn.
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ