Meteor shower to light up the First Coast sky tonight

Meteor shower to light up the First Coast sky tonight

Meteor shower to light up the First Coast sky tonight

A Leonid meteor - a fragment of Comet Tempel-Tuttle - streaks across the night sky.

Though this year's show is certainly worth braving the cold, Andrew Fazekas at National Geographic reports it'll be nothing compared to some Leonid showers of the past. "[This year's shower] will not even rank among the strongest showers of 2017, as only 15 or so meteors per hour are expected".

The annual phenomenon occurs as the Earth comes through the debris field from the Tempel-Tuttle comet.

A new moon will make it easier to see the meteors. Don't go out too late, though, as pre-dawn twilight can wash out dark skies hours before the sun rises in many locations. Through night, folks on the First Coast will be able to see upwards of 10 to 20 meteors an hour.

Telescopes, binoculars, or other equipment aren't required to see Leonid meteors.

Head outside and look up, if you are in an area that has clear skies and little light pollution.

"We were seeing dozens of meteors every second", recalled Mike Jones, who watched the shower from Mineral Wells, Texas in 1966.

"Perhaps the key work to remember in meteor observing is patience". The meteors will be most visible to gazers in the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest rates of meteors expected to be seen in East Asia.

The meteor shower, which usually takes place in November, gets its name from because some of its shooting stars appear to come from part of the Leo star constellation. "Meteor watching is like watching a graceful, natural fireworks display, and you never know when or how bright the next "shot" will be".

For those of us who are not experts on lunar phases, this means that the lack of light shining from the moon in the sky will make everything especially dark - flawless viewing conditions for a meteor shower.

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