Thursday evening into Friday morning shall be one of many particular dates scattered all through every year when skywatchers can catch a meteor bathe as a mess of flares probably burst within the darkness.
Meteor showers happen when our planet runs into the particles area left behind by icy comets or rocky asteroids going across the solar. These small particles deplete within the ambiance, resulting in blazing trails of sunshine. The regularity of orbital mechanics signifies that any given meteor bathe occurs at roughly the identical time every year.
The newest bathe is the Leonids. They’ve been lively since Nov. 3 and go to Dec. 2. However they may peak Nov. 17 to 18, or Thursday into Friday morning
The Leonids are well-known for sometimes producing meteor storms. In 1966, 1999 and 2001, the bathe’s charges exceeded 1,000 fireballs per hour. This yr’s present needs to be a extra placid 15 meteors per hour or in order our planet isn’t forecast to come across any dense particles fields from the bathe’s father or mother comet, 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, till 2099.
The moon shall be round a 3rd full on the evening of peak exercise. The bathe shall be finest considered within the Northern Hemisphere after midnight, and later at evening for these within the Southern Hemisphere.
And there are extra meteor showers to come back. Go to The Occasions’s listing of main showers anticipated in 2022, or sync our curated assortment of main house and astronomy occasions together with your private digital calendar.
The way to see a bathe
One of the best follow is to move out to the countryside and get as distant from synthetic mild sources as doable. Individuals in rural areas could have the posh of simply stepping outdoors. However city-dwellers have choices, too.
Many cities have an astronomical society that maintains a devoted darkish sky space. “I’d counsel contacting them and discovering out the place they’ve their location,” mentioned Robert Lunsford, the secretary-general of the Worldwide Meteor Group.
Meteor showers are often finest considered when the sky is darkest, after midnight however earlier than dawn. So as to see as many meteors as doable, wait 30 to 45 minutes after you get to your viewing location. That may permit your eyes to regulate to the darkish. Then lie again and soak up a big swath of the evening sky. Clear nights, larger altitudes and occasions when the moon is slim or absent are finest. Mr. Lunsford instructed an excellent rule of thumb: “The extra stars you may see, the extra meteors you may see.”
Binoculars or telescopes aren’t needed for meteor showers, and actually will restrict your view.