The Leonid meteor shower is scheduled to peak Nov. 17-18. The best time for viewing meteors streaking across the sky will be two hours just before dawn local time according to Space.com.
The reason for the early start is due to the fact that the moon will have set in the western sky. Look to the east above the horizon in the constellation of Leo to see the meteors light up the sky.
The Springfield metropolitan area in southwest Missouri creates a huge night glow for miles around. My suggestion is to find a spot at least 20 miles outside the city where most of the eastern sky will be dark.
Missouri State University's Baker Observatory is located 10 miles northwest of Marshfield just off Route 38. Take Interstate 44 toward the east and turn on the only exit for Marshfield. Turn left and go over the highway bridge. Turn left again on Highway 38. Travel about ten miles to County Road 514 or Old Hillcrest Road. Follow the signs to direct you to the visitor entrance of the observatory.
Busiek State Forest
Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area possesses the beauty of being right off a major highway but far enough away from Springfield to enjoy the meteor shower extravaganza. Take U.S. Highway 65 south of Springfield about 20 miles and watch closely for the signs for Busiek Road. Take that exit. You may be able to hear some background noise from the highway but the view will be well worth it.
Pleasant Hope Conservation Area
North of Springfield is the Pleasant Hope Conservation Area which consists of a forested area with some open fields. To get to this rustic spot take Highway H (Glenstone Avenue) north out of Springfield approximately 13 miles until you reach 564th Road. Turn left. Go about a mile and a half until you reach 182nd road and turn to the right.
If you plan to rise early to view the meteors be sure to bring coffee or hot chocolate as well as a warm blanket. It will be cold and partly cloudy during the peak times for the meteor shower in the Springfield area. A folding chair works well to view the meteor shower in relative comfort.
- State Forest
- Interstate 44
- the meteors
- light up the sky
- night glow
- Conservation Area
- Missouri State University