Leonid meteor shower is set to climax tonight: Here's how to watch

Credit Stellarium  S. Sutherland

Credit Stellarium S. Sutherland

A meteor shower basically consists of many, many, space "rocks" (or meteoroids) that are formed from tiny ice particles that break off comets during orbit around the sun.

"These views will be accompanied by fascinating facts about the annual shower, a look into what causes these regular events, and the harrowing tale of the Greek hero Hercules and his battle with the Nemean Lion (the beast's constellation acts as the point of origin for these meteors)", Slooh representatives wrote in a statement.

However, lest you get too excited at the prospect of seeing something similar this year, there are two reasons why this is not going to happen around the maximum that is predicted for the small hours (UK time) of Thursday 17 November. The greatest rate will happen late in the night sky and early morning and could be anywhere between 10 to 15 meteors per hour.

The only other piece of bad news is, well, that supermoon.

The impressive meteor shower peaks in November each year as the Earth moves through the dust left behind from comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.

Despite the lower visibility, the meteor shower will still be observable with the naked eye.

Dr Daniel Brown, an astronomy expert at Nottingham Trent University, said that the meteor shower peaked at about 3am in the early hours of Thursday. Particularly bright shooting stars are known as fireball or bolides, created by cometary debris that might initially have been the size of a grape.

When is the best time to watch?

This NASA sky map shows the location of the Leonid meteor shower during its peak at 2 a.m. your local time on November 17, 2016.

Half of these Leonids will leave a trail behind as they burn and if you want to make a wish, tonight is the best opportunity.

At the peak of the meteor shower, you should be able to see around 20 meteors an hour.

How can I watch it?

This year, the Leonids Meteor Shower will peak just three days after a full moon.

The Leonid meteor shower starts Wednesday and will continue until November 21.

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