Sky watchers might see meteors fly by during lunar eclipse this month
Tune into the sky late tonight/early tomorrow morning for what could be a spectacular show. Read on to find out more details.
Sky watchers will get a treat next week, with two astronomical events in the forecast for Pacific Northwest skies.
A partial lunar eclipse will take place early Nov. 19, according to NASA forecasts, coming directly on the heels of the Leonid meteor shower, which is expected to peak on the nights of Nov. 16 and 17.
Jim Todd, director of space science education at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, said that means there’s a possibility of seeing meteors fly by during the lunar eclipse, which would be a truly remarkable sight.
All of this is contingent upon the weather, which could bring clouds that would obscure both events completely. The National Weather Service has not yet issued a forecast for those nights, but rain is currently in the forecast daily through mid-November.
A lunar eclipse takes place when the Earth moves between the sun and the moon, casting a shadow over the full moon. The red color is an effect of refracted sunlight, and is most striking during a total eclipse.
Oregonians will be able to see the eclipse between 10 p.m. Nov. 18 and 7 a.m. Nov. 19, Todd said. The best time to view it is during its partial eclipse phase, between 11:19 p.m. and 2:47 a.m., with the maximum eclipse taking place just after 1 a.m.
LEONID METEOR SHOWER
The Leonid meteor shower is considered a minor meteor shower with occasional bursts of big activity. In recent years the event has produced peaks of about 15 meteors per hour, according to the American Meteor Society, and it’s expected to remain at that level until the 2030s.