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Meteors and ISS to Traverse Texas Skies

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Meteor Shower | Image by Shutterstock

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The Leonids meteor shower and the International Space Station are expected to be highly visible in North Texas skies on Saturday night.

The meteor shower reached its peak in the evening hours of Thursday into the early morning hours of Friday with 15 to 20 meteors per hour, according to NBC 5.

Yet forecasters said that an outburst of 200 meteors per hour could occur on Saturday, November 19, just after midnight. This outburst would likely last less than an hour.

The Leonids are a major meteor shower occurring every year in November when the earth passes through the debris trail of comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. This year’s meteor shower will last from November 3 to December 2 and will fall from the constellation of Leo. The shower normally peaks in mid-November.

Meteors from this shower are considered some of the fastest known, traveling at 44 miles per second.  The Leonids are also known for fireballs and Earth-grazer meteors. Fireballs are larger explosions of light and color, lasting longer than an average meteor streak.

NASA officials advise that the Leonids are best viewed from midnight to dawn. For optimal viewing, they also recommend finding an area without city lights, lying flat on one’s back with feet facing the east, and looking up to see as much of the sky as possible. Viewer eyes will be adjusted to the sky in less than 30 minutes, allowing the sight of the meteors.

The International Space Station will also be visible in North Texas for five minutes on Saturday. This flyby will track from the west to the north starting at 6:37 p.m. The station will appear as a fast-moving star in the night sky.

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