How to watch Leonid Meteor Shower tonight – best time to see shooting stars

Star gazers are in for a treat as a meteor shower is set to light up the sky.

The Leonid meteor shower will peak on November 17, continuing into the morning of November 18.

The display is one of the more prolific showers of the year as fast, bright shooting stars will be seen in the hours between midnight and dawn.

The Leonids are the result of Earth travelling through the debris left by the comet Tempel-Tuttle.

Tiny specks of ice which have been left in the comet's wake collide with Earth's atmosphere, giving the appearance of shooting stars.

Although the shower is annual, this year’s will be more visible than last due to the crescent moon only being 5% illuminated.

NASA said in a statement: “The Leonids, which peak during mid-November each year, are considered to be a major shower though meteor rates are often as low as about 15 meteors per hour.

“The Leonids are bright meteors and can also be colourful.”

The metros shoot through the sky at a speed of around 44 miles per second and are some of the fastest in space.

How is best to watch?

NASA says the best way to view the show is to find an area well away from street lights and other light pollution, and and lie flat with your feet towards the east.

The space agency said in a statement: “Orient yourself with your feet towards east, lie flat on your back, and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible.

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“In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Be patient -the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.”

The shower will be best viewed if you look east at midnight on November 17, as it becomes November 18.

When to watch?

The later you stay up, the more rewards you will get as the display starts at around midnight.

And it should last until dawn, so there is plenty of time to spot the shooting stars.

According to astronomers, to spot the meteors, simply look for the star constellation of Leo in the night's sky, which is where the Leonids gets its name from.

Viewers will need to be eagle-eyed though, as Leonids hurtle through the heavens at 158,400mph (254,920kmh) – the fastest-known meteor shower.

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