meteor shower - hb
Meteor Shower Early Tomorrow Morning Might Be Worth Getting Up For

by Hannah Benson

The year of 2017 is full of astronomical events from the total solar eclipse, to the June solstice [1]. But there is one more to finish off the year, the Leonid Meteor Shower.

Meteor Showers are bits and pieces of rock and ice that are left behind from comets. When the Earth passes through the debris and burns, it creates a beautiful “natural fireworks.” The Leonid Meteor Shower is created from the Tempel-Tuttle comet [2].

According to American Meteor Society, the meteor shower is active from November fifth, to December third [3]. But the maximum, or time the meteor shower is visible, will take place tomorrow, November 18 [4].

To get the optimal meteor shower watching experience, you do have to put some preparation into the event. It is important to choose a good location. It needs to have an open view of the sky, and helps to be in an area with few lights, or buildings.

On the day of the meteor shower, you need to wake up several hours before dawn to be able to properly see the meteor shower. First, you need to find the Leo constellation. This is the area in the sky where the meteors should “shower” [2].  

Patrick J. Kiger gives a tip and writes, “It’s easier to just rely upon your eyes instead of binoculars or a telescope, since those devices tend to limit your field of view and make it harder to spot the fast-moving objects” [2].  

It is commonly thought that during meteor showers, large clusters of debris fly across the sky for long periods of time. But in reality, it is quite the opposite. Most meteor showers only have a few “stars” an hour. The Leonid Meteor Shower is expected to have around 15 meteors per hour [3].

Unfortunately, tomorrow Walkersville is expecting clouds and frigid 30 degree weather. Clouds can make the sky hard to see, and the cold weather will make it hard to be patient. But the Leonid Meteor Shower is an amazing annual event. So if you are unable to see it this year, it will be back again next year!

Science teacher Susan Faibisch has seen meteor showers before and explains, “I have not seen one that has had lots and lots and lots, but I have seen them where one goes across the sky every couple minutes. Yes, very cool!”

Sophomore Danilella Manchester, “I have seen one… It was this year, in the beginning of October.”

Even though it will challenging to watch this year’s Leonid meteor shower, other people have explained the other astronomical events they have seen.

“Well I have seen the space shuttle launch, and the space shuttle go by at night, you know just watching it on one of its revolutions around earth. Numerous solar eclipses, lunar eclipses,” Faibisch comments. Sophomore Erika Long stated, “I saw the eclipse.” Sophomore Jazz Salters agreed she watched the eclipse also.

Students and staff of Walkersville High School would also be interested in observing the Leonid Meteor Shower next year.

Faibisch remarks, “Oh absolutely. I always try to go out and see, if it’s not too late.”

“If it is before the sun comes up, probably not,” Salters admits.

“If it happened when I was awake. When it happened in October, I was awake. But I wouldn’t set any alarms for it,” Manchester confessed.

Nevertheless, this year has been amazing for astronomy geeks and noobs alike. Just remember to put “watch a meteor shower” on your bucket list.

 

Citations:

[1] http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2017.html  

 

[2] https://science.howstuffworks.com/leonid-meteor-shower-where-when-how-see.htm

http://www.refinery29.com/2017/11/180906/leonid-meteor-shower-viewing-guide

 

[3] https://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/2017-meteor-shower-list/
[4] https://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-faq/