South Carolina

Leonid meteor shower: SC to have excellent visibility for this celestial spectacle

What's Up in the night sky for November 2017

Catch planet pairs and watch the moon pass stellar superstars! See Jupiter and Venus at dawn, the Moon shine near star clusters, and meteor activity all month long.
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Catch planet pairs and watch the moon pass stellar superstars! See Jupiter and Venus at dawn, the Moon shine near star clusters, and meteor activity all month long.

If you don’t mind staying outside in chilly weather this weekend, you’re in for quite the celestial spectacle — the Leonid meteor shower.

The Leonids peak on the night of Friday, Nov. 17 and early the next morning, according to Space.com. Skywatchers may also be able to see some meteors a few days before and after the peak.

Viewers can expect to see around 10 to 20 meteors per hour, NASA reports, and you won’t need a telescope to see them either. The meteor shower will be visible to the naked eye.

"Go outside, find a dark sky, lie flat on your back and look straight up, and be prepared to spend a couple of hours outside,” NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com.

Space.com says during 2016, visibility was poor because bright light from the waning gibbous moon outshone the meteors.

“This year, however, visibility will be excellent because the new moon will take place on Nov. 18, providing a perfect view of the meteors, which will not be washed out by any lunar light,” the space website wrote.

Favorable weather conditions are expected for viewing the meteors streaking across the sky in the coastal areas of the Southeast, AccuWeather reports.

As of Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C. expects clear skies during Thursday night and partly cloudy skies Friday night in Myrtle Beach.

Saturday night will be mostly clear, with a low around 40 degrees.

The Leonid meteor shower occurs every November, when Earth's orbit crosses the orbit of Comet Tempel-Tuttle, according to Space.com. The comet makes its way around the sun every 33.3 years, which leaves a trail of dust rubble behind.

Michaela Broyles: 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles

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