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The Leonid meteor shower peaking over Fowey Cornwall

The annual Leonid meteor shower is set to peak in the skies over Cornwall on the evening of November 17th, promising a spectacular show of shooting stars.

The Leonids are so called due to them sharing the same origin point. If you traced all of the meteor trails backwards, they would meet within the constellation Leo the Lion. 

The particles in the Leonid shower that create the shooting stars is debris which has broken from the comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. The comet was first discovered by Ernst Tempel in 1865, and independently found again a year later by Horace Tuttle, hence the name. The comet itself is roughly 2.5 miles in diameter, and orbits the Sun once every 33 years, releasing fresh material into the atmosphere.

The Leonids strike Earth's atmosphere at 44 miles per second, which is the fastest of any meteor shower. This high speed means that they produce more fireballs than any other shower, and can leave behind smoke trails which last for a few seconds.

Due to the waxing crescent of the Moon, there will be little light pollution to interfere with the celestial wonder that could be lucky enough to witness! The shower is set to peak at 10pm this evening, and will carry on through into the early hours of the 18th November.

We will be keeping a close eye on it here from our hotel in Fowey, Cornwall and follow the advice for best viewing, which is to wrap up warm, try and find a dark spot away from light pollution, and keep your eyes on the skies!

 

Photo courtesy of Mike Lewinski, under Creative Commons

Tagged under: Fowey   Cornwall   Nature   News