WESTERLY, RI — The first time the Leonid Meteor Shower gained widespread notice in news articles, the year was 1833, and they called it a meteor storm, as 50,000 to 150,000 meteors fell each hour, and 2022’s less spectacular show still promises hundreds of shooting stars during the peak Friday morning.
This year, the weather is forecast to be kind to eager meteor shower seekers, with clear skies Friday night. Unfortunately, the dozens of meteors expected to fall to Earth during the night will only be optimally visible for a short window, from shortly before midnight until a waning crescent moon rises, likely washing out the show against the night sky.
So get your blankets ready and limber up your neck for 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 until a few days after the peak, on Friday. They do have one of their regular skygazing nights scheduled for Friday, though, so you if you were going to get lucky meteor shower wise, anyone showing for that event is likely to have the best chance of anyone, since you’ll have trained astronomers nearby with equipment already pointed skyward.
Tips to watch for the Leonids
If you do venture toward Frosty Drew, first 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 Friday, Nov 17. and and through .
- 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.
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