Feel like getting up early? Leonid Meteor Shower set for this weekend
One side benefit to the rare tranquil November weather is skies will be mostly clear for the annual Leonid meteor shower set to peak this weekend.
This meteor shower comes as Earth passes through the dust trail left behind by Comet Tempel-Tuttle, according to SpaceWeather.com. Some years it can make for spectacular displays of meteors and fireballs, but this year is not expected to be one of them.
"Earth will thread the needle between dense filaments, scooping up a lesser amount of dust," writes Dr. Tony Phillips with SpaceWeather.com.
But still, scientists are predicting about 15 meteors an hour and any chance to see a "shooting star", especially in the usually cloudy Northwest, should be appreciated.
For this shower, technically anytime between midnight and dawn is possible to see them, but the best chance to spot them will be in the pre-sunrise hours on Saturday and Sunday - so it's not so much a "stay up late" event as a "get up early" event. The moon sets around 12:48 a.m. Saturday morning and around 1:52 a.m. Sunday and it always helps to get that big bright moon out of the way.
Look in the southeastern sky to find the Leo constellation (why they're called the "Leonids") and the meteors will appear to originate from there. Best viewing conditions are to find the darkest skies away from city lights. However, there will be some patchy fog in spots, so valley areas are not the best. Skies are expected to be clearer Sunday morning than early Saturday morning as we still clear out the gunk from Friday's weather system.
As an added bonus, Phillips points out there are a couple other interesting celestial items to spot. For one, there's a new comet that you can spot with binoculars. And Venus -- the bright star in the eastern sky, will be really close to the star Spica.
If you get any photos of the Leonids, we'd love to see them! You can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our social media channels like Facebook or Twitter.