Astronomers anticipate several meteor showers to take place over the next month, including the famous Leonids, which after years of heavier-than-average showers, have returned and .
After years of heavier-than-average showers, the famous Leonids have returned. These meteors are fast (about 40 miles per second) and can leave trails of smoke, according to Astronomy.com. They will appear to radiate from the constellation Leo the Lion. "Many Leonids are also bright. Usually, the meteors are white or bluish-white, but in recent years some observers reported yellow-pink and copper-colored ones," according to the website.
If you miss the Leonids, the last shooting star cluster before New Year's is the Geminid Meteor Shower, expected to peak in the pre-dawn hours after midnight between Dec. 13 and Dec. 15. They will be visible in all parts of the sky and streak through the sky at more than 50 meteors per hour, almost a meteor a minute, according to EarthSky.com. The new moon is expected to fall on Dec. 13, making for optimal dark skies—as long as you avoid city lights and clouds, the website states.
Be sure to schedule a night this season to bundle up with some blankets, hot chocolate, and enjoy the light show in the sky.
So, where can you watch for shooting stars besides your backyard and maybe the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville? Red Top Mountain State Park's "Meteors and More: Appreciating the Night Sky" is set for the same night the Leonids are expected to peak—Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m.
For a $5 parking fee, your family can hear presentation by the Atlanta Astronomy Club, then search the night sky for stars and more. Georgia Astronomy in State Parks members will bring telescopes and answer questions.
Don't have access to a telescope (which isn't necessary, by the way, for viewing meteor showers)? The North Georgia College & State University’s Coleman Planetarium in Dahlonega (about 28 miles from Cumming) invites you and your family for star gazing. Check out the fall schedule featuring "Public Education Nights" on most Fridays at 8 p.m.
If you're stargazing, snap some photos and share them with us by clicking "Upload Photos and Videos" or use the camera icon on our mobile apps.