Leonid meteor shower to light up UK skies – when, where and how to see it


The Leonid meteor shower will light up skies above the UK this weekend, offering stargazers a celestial display.

The best time to see the shower will be between midnight and before dawn in the early hours of Saturday.

It is one of the bigger annual meteor showers in the sky, and usually features quick, fast meteors, and is associated with Comet Tempel-Tuttle.

They seemingly appear from the head of the Leo constellations of stars.

It occurs when a small path of debris left by the comet as it goes around the sun enters the Earth’s atmosphere at around 70km per second, before vaporising and causing streaks of light.

No specialist equipment is needed and the event can be seen with the naked eye – with stargazers advised to be patient and find the darkest spot possible for the best chance of seeing it.

The best displays can be seen from central, southern and eastern areas of the UK, the Met Office said, adding it is dependent on there being breaks between showers.

Operational meteorologist Dan Stroud said: “We have a waxing moon this weekend so there should be dark skies.

“There will be a band of wind and heavy rain moving across the country, but by the time the sun goes down on Saturday, most of it should have cleared, and there will be some decent breaks between showers.

“It will be hit and miss, but there’s a chance of clear spells, especially the further east you are.”

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The shower will be visible across the whole sky, so it is advised those wanting to watch it find a wide open space.

It will continue for several days after the initial event begins.

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