Astronomer’s tip: meteor shower will appear on 28 November – from Earth

Much of Northern & Eastern Europe will be treated to the spectacle. Space says: “A new generation of meteoroids will be emitted by a stream of dusty material falling from the centre of the constellation Lyra, which seems to have shrunk to only 10 days (on the chart below, the Lyra stream appears to be hovering over Europe for a full 9 days.).”

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The Leonids meteor shower is a remarkable natural phenomenon which regularly lights up the night sky. The Earth crosses a stream of dust – called the Leonid stream – every year, when the Earth goes through the flaming debris. That stream contains small particles of dust and other debris – around 250 times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand – which strike Earth’s atmosphere and burn up with incredible heat. The particles are so small that they burn up in the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, returning to Earth as radiant energy.

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Leonids are made up of thousands of small particles which are ejected from the tip of the constellation Lyra, the Eagle. The comet Tempel-Tuttle travels around the sun three times a year and rotates unpredictably. Its current location means that as it travels through space, it appears on the opposite side of the solar system from where the Earth is at the time.

The meteor shower occurs in the night skies to the south of the Earth’s shadow over Dzerzhinsk, Russia, on 15 January. Photograph: Mikhail Metzel/AP

This meaning we do not get meteor showers when the Earth moves through the debris stream of Mars, the iconic object that pushes the boundaries of the solar system.

For the UK and much of Europe the meteor shower will occur at midnight to the west of the hour after new moon on Monday 26 November.

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In the UK the overnight peak will be around 1am on 27 November.

BBC Radio 1’s Scott Mills is providing a free streaming stream of the meteor shower on its app or website.

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