Where to watch the Leonid meteor shower on Long Island
Friday’s moonless night and mostly clear skies will favor comet-loving, beach-going Long Islanders.
The “shooting stars” from the annual Leonid meteor shower should peak between midnight on Friday and dawn on Saturday, and three Island state parks are waiving entrance fees and stargazing permits.
“Look towards the northeast and enjoy the celestial show,” the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said in a statement Thursday.
The meteor shower looks like it springs out of the Leo constellation, which explains its name.
Experts say lying down is the best way to view the meteor shower, created by debris flying off the Tempel-Tuttle comet and incinerating in the Earth’s atmosphere.
It takes Tempel-Tuttle about 33 years to orbit the sun, a cycle that in the past has produced spectacular meteor storms, according to EarthSky, a nonprofit website.
The last such storm was in 2001, when the comet threw off thousands of meteors per hour, it said.
This year, around 10 to 15 meteors per hour are expected, the website said.
The parks department advised bringing reclining chairs and is requiring star-lovers to stay near their cars. No binoculars will be needed, it added.
Jones Beach State Park Field 6 is one of the viewing spots, and the Weather Channel’s hourly forecast says the thermometer should remain in the high 30s.
The other locations are Field 3 at the Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park, and the upper parking lot at Montauk Point State Park, the parks department said.