Lockdown stargazing: 4 meteor showers you can watch from your garden in the next few weeks

Lisa Walden
·3-min read

From Country Living

Stargazers are in for a real treat as four stunning meteor shower displays are set to light up this sky this winter.

We might be heading into a second national lockdown from Thursday 5th November, but spotting meteor showers from our gardens is set to be better than ever thanks to lower levels of light pollution.

During the height of the first lockdown in March, many stargazers reported that lesser smog and light pollution allowed for darker night skies, which made space and stars all the easier to see — and it's going to be just as good this November.

If you're planning to stargaze, find a private area with minimal light around you (such as a garden or balcony). "For the best chances to spot them, find as dark of an area as you can," Anna Ross, Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said.

"Allow around 20 minutes for your eyes adapt to the dark to see the little points of light travelling very fast across the sky. As meteors move so quickly, its best to look up without using telescopes or binoculars so you can see as much of the sky as possible."

Take a look at the meteor showers to look out for below...

When are the meteor showers visible in November and December?

Photo credit: Chris McLoughlin - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris McLoughlin - Getty Images

The Taurids (due to peak between 10th-11th November)

Famous for being one of the longest lasting meteor showers, the Taurids started to light up the sky in October and will continue into November. With more of us set to spend the month at home, there's no greater time to head into your garden and look up.

The team at Red Funnel say: "Although not as frequent in number as some other showers (up to 10 an hour), the Taurids are normally beautiful and provide astrology lovers with plenty of opportunity to spot them.

"Slow moving, the meteors appear when Earth collides with debris from comet Encke. With the stream very spread out, the shower can be separated into two segments; the South Taurids, which occur between 25th September and 25th November, and the North Taurids, between 12th October and 2nd December (due to peak 10th-11th November)."

The Leonids (due to peak between 17th- 18th November)

Make sure you don't miss out on seeing this meteor shower, as it's one of the most prolific showers of the year. "With fast and bright meteors, the Leonids are produced when Earth collides with debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle at speeds of up to 70 kilometres per second," the team say.

"Named after the constellation it appears from, Leo the Lion, the shower produces bright meteors with fine trains, and should be visible in the UK on the horizon."

Photo credit: mike black photography - Getty Images
Photo credit: mike black photography - Getty Images

The Geminids (due to peak between 14th - 15th December)

One of this year's last major meteor showers, make sure you don't miss seeing the Geminids light up the sky.

"Different to many other major showers in that it originates from the debris of an asteroid (rather than a comet), the Geminids often produces showers that are multicoloured with displays of white, yellow, green, red and blue often visible. These are caused by metals like sodium or calcium in the shower."

The Ursids (due to peak between 21st – 22nd December)

We're in for a real Christmas treat with this spectacular meteor shower. Due to peak just before the festive holiday, expect a beautiful streak of light.

"Visible between 17th – 25th December, the shower will peak just before Christmas on 21st – 22nd December. In 2020, a crescent moon means less natural light pollution and a greater likelihood of spotting meteors and shooting stars," says the team.

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