Advertisement
Science

Leonid meteor shower 2015: Watch it live, right here

 

The annual Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak late Tuesday and early Wednesday, and you can watch it live, right here.

Beginning at 5 p.m.,  astronomy website Slooh.com will provide a live feed of the night sky from telescopes in five countries on four continents.

Watching the celestial show on your computer is a great option if you live near city lights that drown out stars and meteors, or if you just don't want to face the cold.

The Leonids occur each November when our planet moves through a river of dust and debris left in the wake of comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. 

Most of these cometary particles are about the size of a grain of sand, but they slam into Earth's atmosphere at 44 miles per second. The force of their impact heats the air around them enough to make streaks of light shoot across the sky. 

Comet Tempel-Tuttle makes a complete orbit of the sun once every 33 years, and when it is closest to the sun, what is known as perihelion, the Leonid meteor shower can be spectacular.

In November 1998, the Leonid meteor shower delivered hundreds of shooting stars per hour; in 1966  an all out Leonid storm produced 10,000 meteors per hour, and in the great Leonid blizzard of 1833 dazzled astronomers reported seeing more than 200,000 meteors per hour.

Tonight's show is expected to be significantly more mellow, with most experts predicting about 10 to 15 meteors per hour under dark skies. 

To catch a glimpse of these shooting stars for yourself, your best bet is to head outside between midnight and dawn. The moon will have set, leaving you a nice, dark sky.

The standard instructions for meter shower viewing apply: Get as far away from city lights as you can. You'll probably want to lie on your back since you are going to be looking up for a while. Have lots of warm clothes with you and give your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust to the low light. Try not look at your cellphone, it will ruin your night vision.

Then just lie back, relax and keep your eyes on the sky.

Happy sky watching!

Science rules! Follow me @DeborahNetburn and "like" Los Angeles Times Science & Health on Facebook.

 


Newsletter
Get our weekly Health and Science newsletter
Advertisement