If you have a junior stargazer at home you won’t want to miss one of the most epic nights of the year: the annual Leonid meteor showers produce some of the best glittering comets to fill the sky, so when is best night to watch the Leonids?
This year’s meteor shower will peak on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 from midnight to dawn (to clarify: those are the early mornings of the 17th and 18th). However, with a bright waxing gibbous moon also hanging in the sky on both nights, the best times to get a good look at the meteors will be right before dawn, when they sky will be the darkest.
Luckily you don’t need a telescope or any special equipment to view the meteors. If possible try to check out the sky from a spot away from the city lights that will dim your view. “Go outside, find a dark sky, lie flat on your back and look straight up,” NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com. “Be prepared to spend a couple of hours outside.”
The Leonids are famously known for causing meteor storms which can clock more than 1,000 meteors per hour. Those storms are rare, however, only occurring about every 33 years with the last one recorded in 2001. This year’s shower is only predicted to bring an average of 10 to 15 per hour, but that’s still plenty of stars for your young stargazers to wish upon.