Stars fall on Alabama and Birmingham with the Leonid meteor shower on November 17 and 18

Stars fall on Alabama and Birmingham with the Leonid meteor shower on November 17 and 18
Leonid meteor shower peaks this weekend: How to catch the bright spectacle
Michigan residents were perplexed when a falling meteor lit up the night sky. These must-see videos captured the exact moment you have to see to believe.

Keep your eyes peeled this weekend: If you're lucky, you may catch a glimpse of fireballs shooting across the night sky as the annual Leonid meteor shower makes its glorious return.

According to Margaret Campbell-Brown and Peter Brown in the 2018 Observers Handbook of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Earth will pass through the thickest part of the Leonid swarm at 7 p.m. EST (2300 GMT) on Nov. 17. But the best time to look will be during the after-midnight hours of Sunday morning, once the source the meteors appear to stream from, called the radiant, comes above the horizon for observers in North America. The meteors appear to fly away from a point located within the Sickle of Leo (hence the name Leonids).

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The meteor shower, which contains debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, will be visible Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Earth will cross the "thickest part" of the Leonid meteors around 7 p.m. ET Saturday, Space.com reports, though you'll have the clearest view after midnight.

The Leonids shower is famous for sparking spectacular meteor storms that, in the past, have showcased hundreds of thousands of meteors per hour, This years storm is going to be much less, about 20 per hour. Despite the lower number, watching a meteor shower can be a life-changing experience.

Viewers can expect to witness about 20 meteors per hour during the peak of the show, according to AccuWeather blogger Dave Samuhel.

The very best time to observe the Leonids is as close to dawn as possible, according to Space.com. This is when viewers will be able to avoid glare from a waxing gibbous moon (which sets before 2 a.m. local time) and the radiant will climb well up in the southeastern sky.

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Here is the Weather Channel Birmingham hourly forecast for Sunday morning when the Leonids are expected to be most visible (be mindful, watch for the meteor show 10-15 miles outside of Birmingham to avoid light pollution).

"The Leonids are often bright meteors with a high percentage of persistent trains," the American Meteor Society says.

If you are a local star gazer and able to capture any photos or video of the Leonid meteor shower, Bham Now would love to share it with our readers.  Send to hello@bhamnow.com your photos.

A meteor forms when a meteoroid, a type of space rock that breaks off from an asteroid — a rocky body orbiting the sun — enters Earth's atmosphere. As soon as the space debris crosses over, it breaks down into what scientists call a "meteor," which then vaporizes and — as a result of friction — appears as a bright streak of light in the sky.

Weve seen posts about it on social media from people all over the state, including Killeen, south Austin, and Dripping Springs.

"Because of their appearance, these streaks of light some people call meteors 'shooting stars,'" NASA explains in a blog post. "But scientists know that meteors are not stars at all — they are just bits of rock!"

Dozens of reports came in from people who say they say a bright flash streaking across the sky around 9:15 p.m.

Leonid meteors are seen streaking across the sky over snow-capped Mount Fuji, Japans highest mountain. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

When you look up at the night sky, and you just see things flying all through the sky, I think its really important that we understand why this is happening. What are these things that are shooting through the sky? Theyre not shooting stars, so thats a common misconception and we just want to tackle that common misconception and talk about what they really are, said Hannah Beth Hembree, the Director of Museums.

"This shower is called the Leonid shower because the meteors seem to come from a point in the constellation Leo," NASA states online.

The Leonid Meteor shower happens every year around this time and to celebrate the special show, the Thronateeska Heritage Center will host a Science Saturday.

Your best bet at witnessing a fireball in action will be on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 — when the shower reaches its peak. You’ll be able to see the most meteors after midnight on Nov. 17.

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – If you stay up late Saturday night, youll be able to see one of the last meteor showers of the year streak across the sky.

The shower will be visible across the country, though pollution, weather and the Moon could cloud the sky and prevent you from catching the show.

You and your kids are invited to the Planetarium to learn exactly what a meteor shower is before the night time spectacle.

Since the Leonids will "radiate from the northeast," Accuweather says people in the western and southeastern part of the U.S. will have the best visibility.

The bright meteors can also be colorful, and theyre fast, moving at 44 miles per second — among the fastest meteors. Fireballs and “earthgrazer” meteors are also a hallmark of the Leonid shower. Fireballs are brighter and larger and can last longer than the average meteor, while earthgrazers appear close to the horizon with long, colorful tails.

Leonid Meteor Shower November 2018: How to see a shooting star from the UK this weekend

Unlike solar eclipses, which requires special equipment to view the astrological event, you don't need anything to spot this celestial event.

Find an open area with a wide view of the sky, and dont forget to bundle up. If you want to photograph the Leonid meteor shower, NASA suggests using a camera with manual focus on a tripod with a shutter release cable or built-in timer, fitted with a wide-angle lens.

"Get to a dark spot, get comfortable, bring extra blankets to stay warm, and let your eyes adjust to the dark sky," NASA suggests. "A cozy lounge chair makes for a great seat, as does simply lying on your back on a blanket, eyes scanning the whole sky."

The meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Leo, the Lion, as the meteors will be coming from the stars that make up the lions mane. But you dont need to look in the direction of the constellation, because the meteors will appear all across the sky.

Leonid Meteor Shower 2018: Leonids to send shooting stars across UK | Daily Star

If youre willing to brave some chilly early morning temperatures, youll have the opportunity to marvel at the bright strokes of cosmic debris from Novembers Leonid meteor shower, which is at its peak this weekend.

The best time to see the meteor showers will be between midnight and dawn on both mornings, wherever you are in the world. If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive to a place that isnt littered with city lights that will obstruct your view.

The Leonid meteor shower is peaking this weekend — heres how to see the stunning annual event

The best time to see this years Leonids peak is between 12 AM and 6 AM in all time zones throughout the US on November 17th and 18th. The best viewing times are after moonset (in the early morning when the moon sets into the Earths horizon) and right before dawn.

If you meteor-gaze after moonset, there will be be less light to interfere with your viewing. And with this weekends moon shining at a nearly full waxing gibbous phase, its better to look out for the Leonids with no moon in the sky at all.

If you want to get in on the shooting star action, Texans have a chance of witnessing the peak of this years Leonid meteor shower between midnight and 3:00 a.m. on Saturday by looking east— as long as its not too cloudy.

Meteor showers occur when the Earth moves through a dense cloud of comet debris during its orbital journey. What you see are the trails of dust remnants collected over the years. The Leonids are usually visible in mid-November, when the Comet Tempel-Tuttle sprinkles Earths path with rocks and ice.

Read more: A weird, cigar-shaped object flew through the solar system last year. Now astronomers may know where it came from.

Residents spotted the bright blue and orange meteor streak across the sky and end in a flash. Some witnesses even reported a sonic boom as it entered the Earths atmosphere.

A meteor streaks across the night sky (upper R) over Rio de Janeiro early November 17, 1998. Reuters

The Leonids are known for being prolific, bright meteor storms with up to 100,000 meteors that whiz through the sky at every hour. Although this years shower wont be as immense, experts estimate that people will see up to 20 meteors per hour — a little more than the average of 10 to 15 meteors usually seen per hour during the Leonids.

Look, up in the sky! That was probably uttered by countless Texans Thursday night when a fireball was seen from Dallas to the Houston area.

Accuweather reported there may also be a few “stragglers” from last months Taurids meteor shower, so you could even see a few more meteors than anticipated.

Watch: Fireball lights up the sky over Texas

Along with moonlight, any light pollution should be avoided in order to really see the Leonids. For the best views, EarthSky suggests going to the countryside or an open field where there are few lights or trees.

Viewers in the western US (from Nevada up through Minnesota) and states in the Southeast are predicted to have the best viewing conditions. Areas in the Southwest and southern Plains will likely be covered in clouds, which would make seeing the Leonids more difficult. Parts of the country between Colorado and Illinois could also have trouble seeing the shower, since snow is expected to fall across that region this weekend.

The Northeast will also get some clouds, and brisk winds could make it unpleasant to be outside in the middle of the night, according to Kristina Pydynowski, a senior meteorologist at Accuweather.

This meteor shower got its name from the Leo the Lion star constellation, from which the dust particles disperse and radiate. The next major Leonid meteor storm isnt expected to occur until the early 2030s.


Posted in Birmingham