Author Topic: Leonid 2023 meteor shower tonight: How to see bright fireballs this November  (Read 181 times)

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BBC Science Focus by Holly Spanner 11/16/2023

Conditions are looking good for this year’s Leonids. Here's how and when to watch some of the fastest meteors of the year.

The Leonid meteor shower is fast and is well-known for its impressive, bright fireballs. Every so often the Leonids will produce ‘meteor storms’, where viewers can see meteors in their thousands. Sadly, 2023 is not predicted as a meteor storm year, but the shower is still well worth watching, especially if you’re in an area with little-to-no light pollution.

But how can you spot a Leonid? Will you need any equipment? And, where do the Leonids come from in the first place?

If want to plan ahead for upcoming meteor showers in the UK, check out our guide, and if you’re looking for more stargazing tips, be sure to check out our astronomy for beginners guide and our full Moon UK calendar.
When is the Leonid meteor shower 2023?

The Leonid meteor shower peaks on Saturday 18 November 2023, in the early morning just before sunrise. You can still see meteors from the shower on the night of Friday 17 November, and the night of Saturday 18 November.

“The Leonid meteor shower is active between 3 November and 2 December. Peak rates occur mid-November, this year’s maximum predicted for 6am on 18 November,” explains veteran astronomer and BBC Sky at Night presenter, Pete Lawrence.

“Leonids are amongst the swiftest meteors, the particles forming Leonid trails entering our atmosphere at a speed of 70 km/s (44 miles/s).”
What is the best time to see the Leonids?

The best time to see the Leonids will be between midnight and dawn on 18 November 2023.

“The night of 17/18 November should give the best rates but if the weather is poor, the nights before and after should be fine too,” explains Lawrence.