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Leonid Meteor Shower 2017: How and where to see it

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Mid-November is a month for professional and amateur stargazers alike, as they are treated with a remarkable spectacle courtesy of the Leonids Meteor Shower.

What is it?

The Leonids Meteor Shower is one of the most famous meteoric events of the year. Named after the constellation Leo, as when viewing the shower it appears as though the meteors emanate from it, the source of the spectacular fireballs is due to the Tempel-Tuttle; a comet with an orbital period of 33 years. As it passes the sun each orbit, ices from the comet melt causing particles to shoot through the earth’s atmosphere as comets.

When will the Leonids occur?

In 2017, the Leonids shower will peak between November 17 and 18, between midnight and dawn. To make the most of this awe-inspiring astronomical event, we have compiled some of the must-see places to successfully view the shower, along with tips to comfortably view them locally.

How can you see it?

It really can be as easy as turning all your house lights off, finding a comfortable spot in your back garden and gaze up at the sky. Although, that all depends on location. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area close to the countryside with minimal light pollution, you are guaranteed to see meteors. A full moon also hampers the ability to see the night sky, as it casts a glow that acts similarly to light pollution. Luckily, this coming week the moon will enter its first phase keeping the skies clear of obscurities.

If, however, you live in a densely populated area, all it takes is a short journey out of the city to country parks or empty fields that allow the sky to breathe and allow you to view the shower in its entirety.

All you need when viewing the shower is your eyes, a comfortable place to recline or lie down and to give your eyes 20 to 30 minutes to fully adjust to the dark.

Where to go to see the Leonids Meteor Shower:

The best for adventurers

If your back garden or local areas aren’t exciting enough, England is famous for its beautiful national parks. They cover the length and breadth of the country and offer some of the most spectacular vistas to view the night sky with no artificial light interruptions. From the New Forest to the Peak District, Dartmoor to Exmoor, the pitch black allows to witness the night sky in its natural state and to see the Leonid shower in its entirety.

The best for beachcombers

The same goes for the coast. Avoid popular coast towns such as Brighton and Blackpool, as these will be laden with light pollution and busy with tourists. It’s best – if you can – to find remote beaches and coastal villages, where urban light is absent, and tourists tend to visit in the day rather than night.

The best for indulging

Tucked in the spectacular Kielderhead National Nature Reserve in Northumberland, Landal Kielder Water & Forest Park is ‘the fourth largest place in the world with Dark Sky Status’ and one of the best places in the country to spectate the Leonid Meteor Shower. The first of its kind in England, it allows one of the best experiences to watch the stars normally, let alone watching a famous meteor shower.

You can even view the shower in private stargazing pods or from their own ‘luxury lodge’s outdoor hot tub.’ I mean, what’s not to miss?

 

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