With winter comes a few advantages; pretty snow, festive cheer, warm drinks, great movies, and, of course, presents. However one advantage that often gets overlooked is that of the clear night sky. The brisk evenings, as early as they come, tend to bring with them a great expanse of stars and beautiful abyss, which makes it the perfect time of year to catch a meteor shower.
The Leonid Meteor Shower is active every year throughout the month of November, although it usually peaks sometime between the 17th and the 20th. That means this week is the best time to get out there and watch the splendour of the universe unfold above you.
The above picture shows where in the night sky you will best be able to see the shower. Astronomers say it isn’t necessary to look in any particular direction but your best chance of seeing the meteor’s is to lay down on the ground and look towards the east. The peak time to see the action is between midnight and dawn, during which you will be able to see up to 20 meteor’s an hour!
Last year the visibility wasn’t particularly good and thus the chances of seeing the shower were low, this year however the visibility will be excellent because the new moon will have already appeared. The Leonid Meteor Shower is a result of a comet, Tempel-Tuttle, which passes the sun every 33 years and leaves behind a trail of debris (i.e, the meteor shower). As the Earth passes by the comet on it’s yearly journey, these shards from the comet fall into the atmosphere and burn up, causing the beautiful trail in the night sky.
You’ll be able to see the Leonid Shower all across Ontario but there are a few spots here in Mississauga that we recommend for the best views. If you’re a resident of Port Credit, Clarkson, Lorne Park, Mineola, or even Lakeview, we recommend either Meadow Wood Park, Jack Darling Memorial Park, or J.C Saddington Park, and obviously you’ll want to find the darkest area possible. Beyond the Lakeshore, the places with the least light pollution are Glen Erin Woodlands Park for Erindale, Riverrun Park in Streetsville, or Zonta Meadows Park near the city centre. If you can’t get to a local park, it’s still worth lying down in the darkest place you can find and gaze above.
The Leonid Meteor Shower takes place all month long but your best chance of catching the show is between the 17th and the 20th, after midnight. Obviously, it’s fairly cold outside as we approach December, so if you’re going out to see the Shower, remember to wear layers and bring a hot drink. Enjoy the show!