Leonids meteor shower: This is when you will be able to see stunning Leonids meteor shower in Yorkshire this weekend
The best time to see the spectacle above the UK this year may have already gone. Experts said it would have been most visible between midnight and before dawn today (Sat, Nov 18).
The Leonids – one of the more prolific annual meteor showers – are usually fast, bright meteors, and are associated with Comet Tempel-Tuttle.
They appear to stream from the head of the constellation Leo the Lion, hence the name.
A tiny path of debris is left by the comet as it follows its path around the Sun, and this enters Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 70 kilometres per second, vaporising and causing the streaks of light we call meteors.
Stargazers do not need specialist equipment to see the display which will be visible to the naked eye.
However, a clear sky, a little patience and the darkest possible conditions – away from streetlights and other sources of light – will give people the best chance of seeing the Leonids.
The best displays will be visible in central, southern and eastern parts of the UK, according to the Met Office, so long as there are breaks between showers.
Operational meteorologist Dan Stroud said conditions may be good to see the shower.
He said: “We have a waxing moon this weekend so there should be dark skies.
“There will be a band of wind and heavy rain moving across the country, but by the time the sun goes down on Saturday, most of it should have cleared, and there will be some decent breaks between showers.
“It will be hit and miss, but there’s a chance of clear spells, especially the further east you are.”
The meteors will be visible in all parts of the sky, so a wide open space where the night sky can be scanned will help.
Those missing out on the shower’s peak will still have a chance to glimpse the display as it continues for several days afterwards.
The Leonids are a prolific annual meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel–Tuttle, and are also known for their spectacular meteor storms that occur about every 33 years. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo.