When the Leonids meteor shower is likely to be at its peak over Peterborough

Skygazers in Peterborough will be hoping for a break in the cloudy weather to allow them to catch a glimpse of The Leonids meteor shower which is set to reach its peak this week.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 4:52 pm
Picture of the night sky from a lane near Little Gidding during the Perseid meteor appearance. The Leonids shower will be at its paek this week from Nov 15-18. Picture David Lowndes.

This year the best time to see the annual spectacular will be tonight (November 15), tomorrow and at the most likely peak at pre-dawn on Wednesday.

The Leonids, usually fast, bright meteors, are associated with Comet Tempel-Tuttle.

The point where they appear to stream from is at the head of the constellation Leo the Lion, hence the name.

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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.

They can be seen with the naked eye, and are best viewed with clear skies away from light pollution.

Those who miss the peak on Wednesday night might still be able to view the shower, as it continues at a reduced rate for several days on either side.

Displays are better when the Tempel-Tuttle comet, which takes 33 years to orbit the sun, is closer to the Earth, an occurrence which is next due in about 15 years’ time.

The Met Office forecast for Wednesday to Friday is for changeable weather in the north with spells of rain or showers and often windy.

It says it will be largely dry in the south with variable cloud. In Peterborough the Met Office is forecasting some clear skies in between patches of cloud.