Stars fall on Alabama and Birmingham with the Leonid meteor shower on November 17 and 18

Screenshot of the AccuWeather map of visibility for the Leonid meteor show for November 18

Stars fall on Alabama? According to AccuWeather,  Alabama and Birmingham will have “good” visibility to see the last big meteor shower of 2018, the Leonid meteor shower.

Here is the Weather Channel Birmingham hourly forecast for Sunday morning when the Leonids are expected to be most visible (be mindful, watch for the meteor show 10-15 miles outside of Birmingham to avoid light pollution).

Screenshot of the Weather Channel November 17 and 18, 2018 hourly weather forecast.

The Leonids shower is famous for sparking spectacular meteor storms that, in the past, have showcased hundreds of thousands of meteors per hour, This year’s storm is going to be much less, about 20 per hour. Despite the lower number, watching a meteor shower can be a life-changing experience.

“The Leonids are often bright meteors with a high percentage of persistent trains,” the American Meteor Society said.

This will make them easy to spot in the night sky, although light pollution may wash out some of the meteors.

Leonid meteor shower explained

According to Margaret Campbell-Brown and Peter Brown in the 2018 Observer’s Handbook of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Earth will pass through the thickest part of the Leonid swarm at 7 p.m. EST (2300 GMT) on Nov. 17. But the best time to look will be during the after-midnight hours of Sunday morning, once the source the meteors appear to stream from, called the radiant, comes above the horizon for observers in North America. The meteors appear to fly away from a point located within the Sickle of Leo (hence the name “Leonids”).

Best time to watch – Sunday morning 2:00a.m.

The very best time to observe the Leonids is as close to dawn as possible, according to Space.com. This is when viewers will be able to avoid glare from a waxing gibbous moon (which sets before 2 a.m. local time) and the radiant will climb well up in the southeastern sky.

Light pollution

Remember, drive out to rural Alabama, 10-15 miles outside of Birmingham, to avoid light pollution.  Start making plans. Also, bundle up. Temperatures will dip toward the low 40s.

Photos – Please share

If you are a local star gazer and able to capture any photos or video of the Leonid meteor shower, Bham Now would love to share it with our readers.  Send to hello@bhamnow.com your photos.

 

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.