Get your low-light cameras ready, the Leonid meteor shower is peaking this week and there are some amazing Florida dark sky parks to watch from! Keep reading to find out how and where best to enjoy this spectacular display of falling glory.
This celestial event, aptly named for its appearance in the constellation Leo, is annually active this time of year often peaking in mid-November, according to the informational website, Time and Date.
"The Leonid meteor shower is annually active in the month of November and it usually peaks around November 17 or 18. The shower is called Leonids because its radiant, or the point in the sky where the meteors seem to emerge from, lies in the constellation Leo," the site states, in part, furthering that, "The Leonids occur when the Earth passes through the debris left by Comet Tempel-Tuttle."
Time and Date notes that while the event will be spanning from Nov 6–30, peak viewing dates for most Floridians will be Nov 17–18 with up to 10 meteors per hour. Weather permitting, you won't need any special equipment to see the meteor shower, but you should be far enough away from bright city lights for an enhanced viewing experience. While your backyard may do depending on your location, a dark sky park would be ideal.
There are several dark sky areas in Florida including Kissimmee Prairie Preserve, Dry Tortugas National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. Each park has different rules about overnight stays and visits. You can find a map and additional details about the parks here.
Once you have found a suitably dim location, Time and Date recommends getting comfy and allowing your eyes up to 20 minutes to adjust to the dark. There are additional tips of where and when to look depending on your precise location here.