Don't Be Alarmed by Fireballs in the Sky This Week

Don't Be Alarmed by Fireballs in the Sky This Week”

Every year from September to November, the Earth passes through a broad stream of debris left by Comet 2/P Encke.

The Leonid meteor shower is set to put on a display that is out of this world next week, with one meteor streaking across the sky every five minutes during its peak. Despite the fiery name, fireballs are perfectly safe to view and will not hurt anyone. Normal meteors, on the other hand, fade after about half a second, Robert Lunsford, the American Meteor Society's resident fireball report coordinator, told CNN.

"Northern Taurid meteors are notoriously slow and bright, and they fly out of an easy-to-find patch of sky near the Pleiades".

So, how come we can see the meteors?

The first Leonids recorded were spotted in 1833, which led to the discovery of the Comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1865 - all of which proved that meteors in annual showers originate from comets.

"I was 13 so I was an obnoxious little teenager, and I saw a very bright Taurid fireball, and I thought that was a really cool thing to happen on Halloween", he said. "Despite the sparse number of meteors from these overlapping showers, the percentage of fireballs is rather high, so a few Taurids may well overcome the moonlit glare".

'The Leonids, which peak during mid-November each year, are considered to be a major shower though meteor rates are often as low as about 15 meteors per hour, NASA shared in a statement. It started earlier than the Northern Taurids and peaked on October 29 and 30, according to AMS.

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The meteors travel at speeds of around 44 miles per second and are deemed "to be some of the fastest" in space.

NASA says the best time for skywatchers to flood their eyes on the cosmic screen is around 3 a.m. ET in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

This year, the Leonids could produce around 15 meteors per hour at peak on November 16 and November 17, when the tiny sliver of a moon won't produce much interference.

Light pollution from cities can make it hard to see.

"Leonids can be bright meteors and even colorful".

On Nov. 17th, the annual Leonid meteor shower reaches its peak - with as many as 10-20 visible meteors per hour.

"This year, the Geminids are going to be great because there's going to be no moon around to spoil the show", Cooke said.

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