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Late Night: Catch A Falling Star

The Leonid Meteor Shower peaks Monday afternoon so the best USA viewing time is between midnight and dawn early Monday, so get out there and Catch A Falling Star.

Leonids are the sparkly litter of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. There’s a livestream for the weather impaired, this via Space.com:

NASA’s live stream will include a sky view from a telescope at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. That stream will begin on Monday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. EST (0030 GMT Tuesday) and will continue until sunrise on Tuesday Nov. 18.

According to NatGeo

Like their namesake, the Leonids are known to be quite temperamental. They have been known on rare occasions—every 33 years or so—to flare up into bona fide meteor storms, with hourly rates as high as a few hundred meteors.

During the last big storm in 2002, over 3,000 meteors fell per hour. But the granddaddy—and the root of the Leonids mythical status—was the 1833 storm where counts on one night went as high as 72,000 shooting stars per hour. Talk about a cosmic fireworks show!

The moon’s a little bright this year for maximum viewing, but just maybe it will flare up to celebrate (or protest!) the most remarkable feat of the European Space Agency’s little Philae and Rosetta. They launched Rosetta ten years ago and got the little lander Philae to actually land on the comet (artist’s representation).  Philae’s batteries are down right now, it’s in shadow, but may spark up later. Rosetta is still hanging around, here are some of her snapshots:

I wonder if Tempel-Tuttle looked anything like this.

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Elliott

Elliott