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As Bitter Cold Air Sinks South, Spectacular Meteor Show Expected Early Tuesday

17 Nov 2014, 3:52 pm

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Leonid meteor | NASA

One of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year is set to occur tonight. As many as 10 to 15 meteors per hour are possible in the predawn hours of Tuesday.

According to NASA, the best viewing will be between midnight and just before sunrise. It’s best to avoid light pollution from cities. The moon will be a waxing crescent and isn’t likely to affect viewing all that much.

If you’re going out to enjoy the Leonids, dress very warmly. Arctic air has filtered across most of the eastern two-thirds of the country and extended exposure to that kind of air — if you’re not dressed properly — could be dangerous.

Here are a few tips:

• Layer up — wear multiple layers of clothes to help keep you warm. If you get too hot, just shed a jacket to cool down a bit. Wear gloves, a hat and thick socks too.

• Bring blankets — this is a dual purpose tip. Lay a couple blankets on the ground to provide a buffer space between you and the tundra-like ground underneath. Bring a thick blanket so you can snuggle with your main, while you watch one of Mother Nature’s coolest light shows.

• Sip coffee or hot chocolate — this is a surefire way to help keep you warm and happy.

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Cloud cover will limit some people — in the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast — from getting good views of the meteor shower. That said, much of the country will have mostly clear skies as a Canadian high slides into the eastern part of the country.

So, what exactly is the Leonid Meteor Shower?

According to NASA: “Leonids are bits of debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Every 33 years the comet visits the inner solar system and leaves a stream of dusty debris in its wake. Many of these streams have drifted across the November portion of Earth’s orbit. Whenever our planet hits one, meteors appear to be flying out of the constellation Leo.”

If you’re unable to see the Leonids — due to cloud cover or the fact that it’s just WAY too cold — NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will provide a live stream.

If you get any great pictures, please send them to us on Twitter or Facebook.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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