Clouds over Europe may give way for Leonid meteor shower
November 18, 2006
Military communities across Europe might have the chance to see this weekend’s Leonid meteor shower early Sunday morning if the clouds clear up as predicted.
If cloud coverage lifts, space enthusiasts and onlookers should be able to witness the peak activity of the annual meteor shower, which should be at 5:45 a.m. Central European Time on Sunday. The shower could last up to two hours and enthusiasts might see up to 150 shooting stars per hour or more than two per minute, according to the Web site www.space.com.
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Koch, operations superintendent for the 21st Operational Weather Squadron at Sembach Air Base, Germany, said Friday that he didn’t see a break in the clouds until Sunday.
“The best shot will be Sunday morning, probably between 4 to 7 a.m.,” he said.
Garrett Billington, Lakenheath High School’s earth and space science teacher, reminded those who plan to see the meteor shower to get far away from city lights, dress warmly and be patient.
“Get a lawn chair, sit down, relax and just look up,” he said.
Billington also said to look toward the east for the meteors, since that’s the direction the Earth travels.
“We’re entering the ‘gravel garbage’ of a comet,” he said.
While traveling in Germany, Billington recalled when he saw a fireball flying across the sky during a meteor shower.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing,” he said.