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Environment & Climate Change

Stargazers prepare for spectacular view of Leonid meteor showers in Mackinaw City park

A meteor during the peak of the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower. The photograph shows the meteor, afterglow, and wake as distinct components.
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Wikimedia Commons
A meteor during the peak of the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower. The photograph shows the meteor, afterglow, and wake as distinct components.

Astronomy enthusiasts are gearing up for a viewing of the Leonid meteor shower, set to peak between midnight and dawn tomorrow.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park near Mackinaw City is welcoming a host of stargazers for one of the biggest meteor showers of the year. Mary Stewart Adams, program director at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, spoke with Stateside about the Leonids.

The shower is produced when a comet coming through our planetary system breaks into pieces as it approaches the sun, Adams says. The Earth orbits through the comet debris, giving the appearance of falling stars.

In fact, Adams says the Leonids led to the creation of "meteor shower science" in the 19th century due to the prolific amount of falling debris.

"It made people get people up out of their beds because there were thousands of stars falling through the sky, which is really hard to imagine," Adams said. "What a beautiful sight that would have been."

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