There’s going to be another meteor shower tonight/early morning, with peak hours between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. ET. Phones, tablets, company loyalty; we sometimes forget that right above our heads some truly amazing things are taking place. Sometimes natural, other times insane daredevil madness.
Tonight’s display with allegedly be one of the best Leonid showings in quite some time, according to NASA. And coincidentally, the lunar phase tonight will be a waxing crescent, meaning little to no moonlight interference. But really, if you want the best possible show, you’ll want to escape your city’s light pollution. Go out to a dessert, remote field or sleepy beach. Your eyes will thank you. To illustrate this point, io9 provides images of a major metropolitan area in Utah compared to small southwest town in the same state. The difference is quite obvious.
Late last year, I actually ventured out to a small town in Southern California called Julian (population 1,500), and the difference was incredible. You could actually see the Milky Way without any equipment. It was just there, in the sky. I wish I could go there for tonight’s show.
io9 provides a few more tips on getting the optimal viewing experience — look straight up! bring a comfortable chair! — so head on over there if you plan on venturing out. If you’re on the west coast in the U.S. like us, the timing isn’t actually that late, and most major cities offer refuge not more than an hour away. Of course, the rest of the world will get a show as well, particularly Asia, which NASA predicts will get up to 300 meteors per hour. Happy viewing.