Leonid meteor shower visible in British skies TONIGHT with dazzling and fast light show
Stargazers are in for a treat tonight as the skies over the UK are set to be lit up by a spectacular meteor shower.
The Leonid meteor shower is one of the biggest meteor showers of the year, and will bring a dazzling display to Britain this year.
It’s set to peak in the early hours of Friday, and the best time to see the spectacle from the UK will be between midnight and before dawn.
Visibility will vary across the country depending on the weather forecast, with those in the south and west having the best chance of seeing the phenomenal shower.
The Leonids are one of the more prolific annual meteor showers and are associated with Comet Tempel-Tuttle.
They are usually fast, bright meteors and appear to stream from the head of the constellation Leo the Lion, hence the name.
A tiny path of debris is left by the comet as it follows its path around the sun, and this enters Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 70 kilometres per second, vaporising and causing the streaks of light we call meteors.
Stargazers do not need specialist equipment to see the display, which will be visible to the naked eye.
Unfortunately, the Met Office has forecast rain to continue across some northern and northeastern areas of the UK on Thursday night, which will be heavy and persistent in places, especially across hills in eastern Scotland.
This means that it may prove more difficult to spot the soaring meteors but those in the south and west of the UK will have better chances of seeing the sparkling shower, with forecasts of clearer skies.
However, the meteors will be visible in all parts of the sky, so a wide open space where the night sky can be scanned will help.
For the best chance of seeing them, you’ll need a bit of patience and the darkest possible conditions – away from street lights and other sources of light.
Although the shower will be at its peak tonight, those who miss it will still have a chance to glimpse the display as it continues for several days afterwards.