MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The annual Leonid Meteor Shower will peak tonight.
Each November, Earth passes through the debris trail left behind by the Comet Temple-Tuttle. As the the small particles of ice and debris in the tail ram into the Earth’s upper atmosphere, they vaporize and form shooting stars in what is one of the most reliable meteor showers each year.
On average, the meteor shower will produce 10 to 15 meteors per hour.
While a nearly full moon hampered viewing last year, a nearly new moon will provide much darker skies and a much better chance to see the cosmic display.
The experts say the best time to watch the meteor shower is between midnight tonight and dawn on Tuesday. However, the meteors will be visible all night. In fact, there were quite a few reports of meteors Sunday evening from residents watching the launch of the SpaceX rocket.
The Leonid Meteor Shower can occasionally produce very bright meteors. Fireballs and “earthgrazer” meteors are also possible during Leonid shower. Fireballs tend to be brighter and larger and can last longer than the average meteor, while earthgrazers appear close to the horizon with long, colorful tails.
Viewing this meteor shower is easy and no special equipment is required. The most important factor when viewing a meteor shower is darkness. Find a dark spot, away from any bright lights. Give your eyes time to adjust and then simply get comfortable and look up. There is no need to look in any particular direction as the Leonids often occur in all parts of the night sky.