November to bring 2 meteor showers and an eclipse
The headliner event will be the November 18-19 partial lunar eclipse
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The flip of the calendar to November means we’ve got some more great astronomy events to talk about. This month will be highlighted by two meteor showers -- the Taurids and Leonids -- and a lunar eclipse.
The events will appear in that order throughout the month, with the Taurids getting things started on the night of November 11th.
The Taurids don’t really receive much attention due to the low number of meteors. They are worth checking out if you’re an avid astronomy fan, or if everything else -- the weather and the amount of moonlight -- cooperates.
The Taurids only produce about six meteor per hour, on average. The shower is known for sometimes producing vibrant meteors known as fireballs. Not all meteor showers are known for this, so that certainly adds a little pizzazz to the Taurids.
The Taurids are debris -- also called space dust -- left behind by Comet 2P/Encke.
Next up this month are the Leonids. They are a more known due to their popularity being a bit higher. The Leonids produce 10-20 shooting stars every hour, on average, during their peak in November if there are no moonlight issues.
This year’s peak comes on the night of November 16th into the predawn hours of November 17th. The issue with this year’s Leonid meteor shower is the moon will be just about full, thus washing out many of the meteors. This likely reduces that 10-20 per hour number to 5-10.
Still, a handful of meteors will be seen each hour, on average, during the peak of the Leonids. To make them even more worthy of your time, the Leonids are known for producing some brighter meteors and meteors with great trains/tails.
The Leonids can also produce historically incredible showers. This is very rare, but it can occur. Unfortunately there are no signs that 2021′s Leonids will be an epic meteor shower.
The next astronomical event to mark down on your November calendars arrives on the night of November 18th into the predawn hours of November 19th. This is when the partial lunar eclipse will occur. This will be a great event for Alabama because we will get to see the entirety of it.
The event will begin with the penumbral eclipse starting just after midnight. The partial eclipse -- and part of the event you’ll want to see -- begins at 1:18am. This is when the moon will take on a reddish color. The eclipse will be at its maximum at 3:02am and will lose its reddish color by 4:47am. The entire event will conclude at 6:03am in Central Alabama.
Partial lunar eclipses like this only happen when the sun, earth and moon are very closely aligned on the night of a full moon. The moon passes behind Earth, thus placing it in our planet’s shadow. If the moon is 100% in Earth’s shadow it’s referred to as a total lunar eclipse. If that’s not the case we have a partial lunar eclipse on our hands.
If you want to know more about this lunar eclipse, what time it will peak in your neighborhood and more general information, feel free to click here.
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