Published: Mon, November 19, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Leonid Meteor Shower to dazzle Metro Vancouver skies this weekend

Leonid Meteor Shower to dazzle Metro Vancouver skies this weekend

What's happening: The Leonid meteor shower peaks this weekend, which means if you want a chance to see a celestial light show then now is the time to look up.

Meteor showers occur when the Earth moves through a dense cloud of comet debris during its orbital journey.

The peak of the shower stretches from midnight through dawn Sunday, but you're best chance of seeing a meteor will be closer to Sunday morning. Once the waxing gibbous Moon sets shortly before 2 a.m. local time, skywatchers will have more than three hours of undisturbed viewing before twilight starts to paint the sky.

The best Leonids views are usually from the countryside or open fields far from city lights.

The Leonids shower is famous for sparking spectacular meteor storms that, in the past, have showcased hundreds of thousands of meteors per hour, This year's storm is going to be much less, about 20 per hour.

A Leonid meteor - a fragment of Comet Tempel-Tuttle - streaks across the night sky. Now astronomers may know where it came from.

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

Accuweather reported there may also be a few "stragglers" from last month's Taurids meteor shower, so you could even see a few more meteors than anticipated. Take a flashlight with red cellophane over it to avoid light pollution.

"As all of these meteors can be traced back to a point of origin in the sky that's inside the constellation Leo, this is called the Leonid meteor shower", says The Weather Network's Scott Sutherland.

The best time to see this year's Leonids peak is between 12 AM and 6 AM in all time zones throughout the USA on November 17th and 18th.

One account from the 1966 Leonid storm described seeing "dozens of meteors every second. the effect was similar to watching snowflakes race at your windshield while driving in a snowstorm".

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