Though it’s been going on for a few days now, the prime time to observe the Leonid meteor shower was early this morning, though just after midnight tonight should also yield excellent results. The shower has been created by a comet called Tempel-Tuttle, which makes an annual trip around the sun and creates between 20 and 30 meteors per hour, which light up the sky in a burst of color. The annual shower gets its name from the Leo constellation, which provides the origin and the backdrop for most of the show. If you’ve never seen one, it’s an amazing experience and totally worth going to be late tonight (or setting your alarm). Do your best to get away from light pollution and check out a star map for optimum viewing.
And, of course, bring a soundtrack. Meteor showers inspire wonder about outer space, force us to ask questions about our place in the universe and — most importantly — look beautiful and trippy. It’s only appropriate to accompany such an event with a little David Bowie (“Space Oddity”) as well as some Deerhunter (“Strange Lights”), Pink Floyd (“Arnold Layne”) and Spacehog just for fun. Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” not only has spacey imagery but also sounds extra-psychedelic. Moby’s “We Are All Made of Stars” reminds us that we have more in common with constellations than we think, and Air’s “Kelly, Watch the Stars!” will keep you on task tonight (especially if your name is Kelly).
But make sure you begin your meteor shower show with a little Kanye West, whose “Flashing Lights” invokes the spirit of the event and the feel its meant to invoke.