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Your best bet for catching a breathtaking glimpse of the Leonid meteor shower this month

A meteor from a meteor shower streaks across the night sky.
A meteor from a meteor shower streaks across the night sky. (2018 Ian Forsyth)

Have you heard of the Leonid meteor shower? It comes around every November, but the chances of seeing it this year are much higher than last year.

The shower happens at the same time every year, when Earth’s orbit crosses the orbit of Comet Tempel-Tuttle, according to Space.com.

A trail of dust is left behind the comet, and when Earth’s orbit crosses that trail, pieces of the comet fall toward our planet’s surface.

Air resistance makes the comet’s crumbs heat up and ignite into the balls of fire we call meteors.

They are as small as a grain of sand or a pea, so they tend to burn up completely before touching Earth’s surface.

So, how and when can you see them?

Luckily for us, meteors are visible to the naked eye, and the shower will peak overnight Monday into Tuesday (Nov. 16-17) around 3 a.m.

The good news is, skywatchers will likely be able to see the meteors days before and after the peak, when they’ll still be able to see about 10 to 15 meteors per hour.

So mark your calendar, grab a sweater and find a place to sit back, relax and see a beautiful show.


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