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Leonid Meteor Shower: Last Chance Tonight

[CREDIT: NASA/Ames Research Center/ISAS/Shinsuke Abe and Hajime Yano] A burst of 1999 Leonid meteors as seen at 38,000 feet from Leonid Multi Instrument Aircraft Campaign (Leonid MAC) with 50 mm camera.

[CREDIT: NASA/Ames Research Center/ISAS/Shinsuke Abe and Hajime Yano] A burst of 1999 Leonid meteors as seen at 38,000 feet from Leonid Multi Instrument Aircraft Campaign (Leonid MAC) with 50 mm camera.
[CREDIT: NASA/Ames Research Center/ISAS/Shinsuke Abe and Hajime Yano]
A burst of 1999 Leonid meteors as seen at 38,000 feet from Leonid Multi Instrument Aircraft Campaign (Leonid MAC) with 50 mm camera.
WESTERLY, RI—Rhode Islanders can catch the Leoonid Meteor Shower tonight/early Sunday morning as the event’s peak nears, but that’s your last chance before rain and clouds will block your view till Thursday, days after the bulk of the meteors have streaked through the sky.

In other words, tonight’s your last night to get a glimpse of the show as Earth’s orbit crosses the trail of debris left behind by Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, according to EarthSky.org.

Interested meteor watchers should focus their viewing between midnight and dawn, and get as far away from city and town lights as possible. The Frosty Drew Observatory inside Ninigret Park in Charlestown is the best spot in the state for stargazing with the least light pollution, though there isn’t an official viewing event scheduled tonight.

Though light pollution is minimal, natural light reflected from the Moon may still interfere with all but the brightest meteors, as Frost Drew notes on its website:

“We do have the Leonid Meteor Shower peaking overnight tomorrow night (Saturday, November 16-17), though the Leonid shower is nothing to freak out about, it could bring a slight increase in meteor activity tonight, but the Moon will outshine most meteors,” the observatory advises.

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Dress warmly:

If you do venture toward Frosty Drew, firs read up on how to dress for the cold like the Frosty Drew astronomers do.

When to view: 

Start craning your neck just before midnight Saturday, Nov. 16 and through 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 17.

Tips: 

  • Bring a blanket and something to prop your head up as you watch for meteors.
  • Remember, state parks close at dusk, so while those areas are far from light pollution, you won’t be able to go in.
  • This is a good night to let the other guy drive so you can just look up.
  • If you see a very slow, bright object sailing across the sky, it’s either a satellite or a Space Station.
Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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