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Skywatch: A bright moon will make finding meteors a little tougher

But we will be treated to a lunar eclipse.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Look for meteors this week as the Leonid meteor shower is slated to peak. The actual shower is active from the beginning to the end of the month but it’s expected to peak sometime early on Wednesday morning. 

Having said that, you may have a better chance of finding meteors earlier in the week because the moon will be setting earlier. The shower is caused by leftover debris from comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. 

You can catch about 10-20 meteors per hour in a good year (sadly, this isn’t expected to be one) but every 33 years or so “the lion roars” producing a meteor storm with hundreds per hour. 

Again this year isn’t expected to be one of those years and the moon will wash out all by the brightest shooting stars. The radiant is in the east after midnight. 

As always, find a spot far from the city lights for the best chance of meteor spotting.

Thursday morning might be the last best chance to catch Mercury in the morning sky for a while. It will be in the ESE sky about a half hour before sunrise. 

You’ll need a clear view of the horizon to see it and even then it’ll be tough because the planet is getting lost in the sun’s glare. You might find Mars, though. It’ll be above and right of the planet.

The full moon arrives at 3:57 a.m. Friday. This month’s full moon is known as the Full Beaver Moon because this was the time to stock up on beaver pelts before the coming winter. It’s also known as the Full Frosty Moon.

If you’re out early on Friday look for a partial lunar eclipse. The partial eclipse begins at about 2:18 a.m. and the maximum eclipse will be at right around 4:03 a.m. 

This will be visible from our locale and it will be a “deep” partial eclipse meaning much of the Moon will be covered in shadow, about 97% to be exact. 

Happy hunting!

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