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Leonids meteor shower peak is on Thursday, November 17 with fast bright display says Royal Observatory





One of the most prolific meteor showers to take place each year will peak over the UK on Thursday night.

The Leonids meteor shower is an annual highlight for stargazers - where between 10 and 15 shooting starts can be seen every hour during the spectacle.

The Leonids meteor shower takes place every November. Picture: Adobe stock image.
The Leonids meteor shower takes place every November. Picture: Adobe stock image.

Caused by small rocks and debris falling from a comet called Temple Tuttel, the Leonids appear every year in November.

Taking their name from the constellation Leo, they are some of the fastest, brightest meteors that can be seen in the skies above us, often travelling at speeds of up to 44 miles per second.

Up to 15 shooting stars can be visible every hour during a Leonids shower
Up to 15 shooting stars can be visible every hour during a Leonids shower

The meteor shower has been taking place since November 6 and will last until the end of the month - but it is the peak of the shower that space enthusiasts are most interested in as it offers the best view of the meteors.

This will happen on Thursday night through to the early hours of Friday morning with the absolute best of the celestial fireworks expected to be between midnight and dawn.

Last year's views of the Leonids shower was impacted by heavy cloud across the UK and a very bright, almost full, moon which hampered the efforts of those trying to watch.

Skies not blighted by light pollution make for the best viewing. Image: iStock.
Skies not blighted by light pollution make for the best viewing. Image: iStock.

For the best views, clear dark skies are required so anyone wishing to spot shooting stars should aim to stand in an area away from any light pollution and keep a close eye on weather forecasts.

While you should give your eyes some time to adjust to the darkness, telescopes and binoculars are also not essential but warm blankets or chairs might be beneficial - with some astronomers even recommending laying on the ground to get the widest possible view of the sky above.



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