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Atlanta Weather | Star Gazing Weekend
News, Weather
Atlanta Weather | Star Gazing Weekend

 

Skies are clearing out just in time for the weekend, and just in time for the peak of the annual Leonid meteor shower. The timing couldn’t be any better as we may get a boost from a moonless sky this weekend. The peak for the 2012 Leonid meteor shower is on Saturday at 3am (EST). Because the moon will have set by that time, its bright glow won't wash out any Leonids you may see.The best time to observe meteors is always after midnight, when the Earth is heading directly into the meteor stream.

 This shower is named the Leonids because they appear to radiate from a point just inside the Sickle of the constellation Leo. It's not important to know exactly where the radiant is because the longest and brightest meteors are usually about 90 degrees away from the radiant. The radiant will be roughly half way up the eastern sky for most northern observers, so the best directions to look are south, north, and directly overhead.

 Although the peak is predicted for 3 a.m. EST Saturday morning, Leonids may be seen at any time in the night, and for a day or two before and after Saturday morning.

It's important to dress warmly and make yourself comfortable in a reclining garden or deck chair. You will see more meteors if you keep your head still and allow at least 20 minutes for your eyes to become adapted to the dark. Be patient and spend a least an hour watching, as meteors often come in batches with long dry spells in between.

 Try catching photographs of Leonids by setting your camera up on a tripod and making time exposures of at least 15 seconds, and send them along to us to share at Photos@11alive.com.

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