Mumbai, November 18, 2020: Grab a spot in your balcony or on your terrace if you are in an area with lesser light pollution tonight, and just look skywards. For there is a treat in store or you. The beautiful Leonid meteor shower that began yesterday will be seen even with the naked eye today. You can catch it from your home, if you have a clear view.
Astronomer Vikram Virulkar shares more about it. He explains, “A meteor shower is leftover remnants of a comet on the way to the sun and this particular Leonid shower is also such leftover cosmic debris. It is a beautiful phenomenon and when you witness it, it’s like a shooting star. The shower comes from the constellation of Leo, thereby giving it its name.”
So, when can one catch it? He says, “The shower will be visible all night, mostly past midnight. The peak of the shower was yesterday, but today we can see the lesser meteors. Usually, as many as 10-15 meteors are seen every hour during the peak of the Leonid meteor shower, but today you may be able to see 20 through the night if you are lucky. The next big sight is the Geminid meteor shower which is coming up in December.”
The winter months are considered the best for stargazing for that is when the constellations look most beautiful and it’s easy to recognise the celestial bodies. But it hasn’t taken off in full swing in Mumbai as yet, owing to the pandemic. “It may begin in December. It may be better to avoid large groups and to maintain social distancing, but should you want to go stargazing on your own just take the car out to the outskirts, park and enjoy the sights,” suggests Vikram.