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Leonid meteor shower 2017: Here's how to see this weekend's celestial spectacle

If you're looking for a shooting star so you can make your wish come true, this weekend may just be your lucky opportunity.

The Leonid meteor shower will peak this weekend, providing ideal viewing conditions for millions across the United States. With clear skies predicted by meteorologists in many parts of the country, even amateur stargazers should be able to catch a glimpse of the cosmic spectacle.

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Experts say 10 to 25 shooting stars will be visible per hour in areas with clear skies this Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to the Smithsonian. Even for the unlucky, such a high number gives anyone decent odds of sighting one of the meteors.

For those hoping to view the shower this weekend, here's everything you need to know:

What is the Leonid meteor shower?

The Leonid meteors are connected to the comet Tempel-Tuttle, according to David Samuhel, senior meteorologist and astronomy blogger at AccuWeather.

"It makes fairly frequent passes through the inner solar system," he said. "This lays out fresh debris in the path of the Earth's orbit every 33 years."

The Earth actually passes through the debris of the comet, making the falling particles visible as they burn up in the atmosphere. Thanks to clear skies and the absence of moonlight, this year's display should give stargazers a decent show.

Where will the meteor shower be most visible?

First of all, stargazers should get as far away from city lights as possible to avoid light pollution. There's no specific spot in the sky to look. But the shooting stars get their name from the Leo constellation, as their paths in the sky can be traced back to those stars.

Peak time for viewing is from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. ET Saturday.

People living throughout the Southeast, the Northern Plains and California are in luck, as meteorologists are predicting clear skies, ideal for viewing the shower.

Those who reside in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region, the central Plains or the Pacific Northwest, however, may have to travel to other areas if they want to spot a falling star.

"A large storm system will be moving from the Plains into the Great Lakes, and cloudy skies are forecast to dominate much of the eastern half of the nation," meteorologist Kyle Elliot said, according to Accuweather. "Rain and thunderstorms will put an even bigger damper on viewing conditions in many of these areas."

The shower will actually be most visible, with the highest rates of visible meteors, in East Asia.

How intense can a Leonid shower get?

While this weekend's display is sure to impress, it's actually considered a light meteor shower, as opposed to a meteor storm. The last Leonid meteor storm took place in 2002. During storms, thousands of meteors can be spotted in an hour.

In 1833, stargazers reported as many as 72,000 shooting stars per hour, according to National Geographic. In 1966, a group of hunters reported seeing 40 to 50 streaks per second over the duration of 15 minutes.

Scientists currently predict the next major outburst won't take place until 2099. But calculations suggest the comet will be returning closer to Earth in 2031 and 2064, meaning more intense storms may be seen sooner. Smaller showers, such as the one occurring this weekend, happen on a regular basis.

So, while you may get another shot at seeing Leonid's shooting stars, this weekend promises to be a great chance for many.

Fast Facts Parkinson’s Disease

Fast Facts Parkinson’s Disease

Thanksgiving 2017: How to fry a turkey without burning down the house

It’s become a tradition in many families – instead of roasting the Thanksgiving turkey, they fry it up in a vat of oil. Some say the idea of frying the holiday bird came from Justin Wilson, the Louisiana chef who made everything Cajun popular a few decades ago.

According to an article in Vogue, in 1996, Martha Stewart Living published a photograph of a deep-fried turkey for its November issue. 

The New York Times included a piece about deep-fried turkey a year later.

While people who have included frying a turkey as part of their holiday celebration swear by the moist taste, frying 15 pounds of bird is not without its risks.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to cooking the bird without burning down your house.

1. Pick the bird.  With frying turkeys, small is generally better. Go for birds around 10-12 pounds. If you have a big crowd of turkey lovers coming for dinner, fry two of them.

2. Prepare the bird. There is an important step in frying a turkey that you don’t necessarily take when you roast one. It is important, really important, that the turkey is completely thawed (no ice on it at all) and that it is dried off when you lower it into the oil. Just remember, oil and water are not a good mix.

3. Don’t forget to season. After the bird is thawed, season it liberally with salt, pepper and any other seasonings your guests would like. Some people use “turkey injectors” to shoot seasoning under the turkey skin.

4. Don’t forget the cavity. And while you are in the cavity, make sure you get the giblets out of there. For those new to turkeys, it’s that bag that is stuff into a frozen turkey that contains the neck, the heart, liver and other parts that were once inside the bird in a different fashion. You can do all of this the day before Thanksgiving and put the bird in the refrigerator until it is show time.

5. OK, your bird is ready. It’s time to set up the frying gear. First, and most importantly, you will be doing the frying outside, not in or near a garage or a carport. Turkey frying isn’t a family activity. Make sure the kids and the pets are inside while you fry. That’s very important.

6. Now comes the setup for the fryer. What you generally get when you buy a turkey fryer is a metal pot, something that looks like a coat hanger, a burner, a thermometer and a gas regulator. The other thing you need is oil. You want an oil that can stand up to high heat. Peanut oil or cottonseed oil is a good choice.

7. How much oil do you need? That’s a good question. Here’s an easy way to figure it out. The day before you fry, take the bird, still in its packaging, and lower it into the pot. Cover the turkey with water. Make a note of how much water was needed to cover the turkey. That’s how much oil you will need. (Note: You want to leave at least 3-5 inches for the top of the pot clear for safety’s sake.) . 

8. Now, find a level spot to put the burner. Fill the pot with the amount of oil you measured by using the water the day before. Turn the burner on and heat the oil. The oil should be at 340-350 degrees before you lower the turkey into it.

9. Putting it in. Take the hanger-like device and stick it in the turkey. The legs should be facing up, the breast down.

Slowly lower the turkey into the oil. Use long oven mitts while you do this. Once the turkey is in the oil, take out the coat-hanger device and let the turkey sit.

10. How long do you cook it? Here’s a ballpark estimate: allow 3 1/2 minutes for every pound. So, for a 12-pound bird, it should take about 42 minutes. 

11. Getting it out. Once the bird is cooked, put the hanger-like device back into the bird. Remember to wear the long oven mitts. Carefully lift the turkey out of the oil. Allow it to drain a bit, and then place it on a platter. Check the temperature of the bird. It  should be between 167 and 180 degrees. If the temperature is OK, leave the bird alone for a while. If it’s not hot enough or is undercooked in spots, you can put the turkey back into the oil.

  

Forensic artist helps families of fallen officers grieve though his artwork

His art usually helps put alleged criminals behind bars, or put a face to a name. But a police officer and forensic artist is using his talents to help ease the pain of the family members of first responders who lost their lives in the line of duty. 

Johnny Castro, who is a retired military police officer, has loved to draw for a long time, telling CNN that he learned a lot from his father when it came to creating portraits.

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A year and a half ago, during his spare time, Castro began to draw and digitally paint portraits of police officers who were killed protecting their cities, not just in the U.S., but in places all around the world, CNN reported.

He includes in the portraits the accolades that the first responders earned posthumously.

Castro has created more than 100 portraits, CNN reported.

Sometimes he’ll work on two or three portraits a week.

He sends copies to the family members of the fallen, but also adds the portraits to his personal wall of heroes, which includes all of the portraits he has created.

Couple accidentally shot at church while discussing gun safety

A man and his wife were accidentally shot by his gun after a presentation on firearm safety at their church. 

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The 81-year old man took out a Ruger .38 hangun cleared it and showed it to other parishioners during an early Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 9 at First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains. 

After talking about how to safely bring guns to church, the man put the gun away, not realizing he had loaded a bullet into the chamber. Later, someone who missed the presentation asked it they could see the weapon, and it accidentally fired. 

"Somebody else walked up and said, 'Can I see it?'" Tellico Plains Police Chief Russ Parks told the Knoxville News Sentinel. "He pulled it back out and said, 'With this loaded indicator, I can tell that it’s not loaded.' Evidently he just forgot that he re-chambered the weapon.”

A bullet hit the 81-year-old man and his 80-year old wife, who was standing next to him. 

The couple, whose family asked that their names not be released, were taken by helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in critical condition, according to The Washington Post. Their condition has stabilized Thursday and they are being treated for non-life threatening injuries, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel

No charges will be filed. 

Top 10 winter vacation destinations, according to Instagram

Snow? Check. Breathtaking mountain views? Check. Historical city charm and Instagram-worthy photo ops? Check and check. 

Bern, Switzerland, is the city with the most Instagram posts in the world for the winter season — and it truly has it all.

>> Read more trending news

That’s according to analysts at Focus Clinic, a popular laser eye surgery clinic in the United Kingdom, who gathered the 20 most popular winter travel destinations across the world based on Google search and ranked each by the number of times a city’s hashtag was used on Instagram to determine its popularity on the photo-sharing app.

According to the research, the #bern hashtag has been used more than 1,082,440 times.

A popular destination in the Swiss city is the medieval Old City of Bern, a city center surrounded by the Aare river. Old City is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of Europe’s longest weather-sheltered shopping centers.

The “gateway to the Alps” is also known for its mountain views, many fountains, walkable streets, cafes, museums and colorful weekly markets, according to MySwitzerland.com.

Rounding out the top 10 winter destinations according to Instagram are: Aspen, Colorado; the Northern Lights in Tromso, Norway; Chamonix, France; Yosemite National Park in California; Zermatt, Switzerland; Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; Bled, Slovenia; Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic and Grindelwald, Switzerland.

>> Explore the full list at focusclinics.com/most-popular-winter-sights

Take a look at some of our favorite Instagram shots of Bern:

Restaurants Open Thanksgiving Day 2017

Restaurants Open Thanksgiving Day 2017

Ohio Supreme Court Justice comes to defense of ‘all heterosexual males’

An Ohio Supreme Court justice has taken to Facebook to share details about his past sexual relationships and his thoughts on Senator Al Franken being accused of forcibly touching and grabbing a woman in 2006. 

>> Read more trending news 

Justice William (Bill) O’Neill, who has expressed interest in running for Ohio governor, posted on Facebook Friday afternoon stating: “Now that the dogs of war are calling for the head of Senator Al Franken I believe it is time to speak up on behalf of all heterosexual males.”

WHIO’s Jim Otte reached O’Neill by phone, to ask if his Facebook account had been hacked.

"I did post it and I stand by it," O'Neill told Otte by phone.

Franken, D-Minnesota, on Thursday called for an ethics investigation of himself after a Los Angeles news anchor came forward with allegations that he kissed her forcibly and groped her as she slept during a USO tour in 2006.

O’Neill continues on the Facebook post to describe the “approximately 50 very attractive females” he’s had sex with in the last 50 years.

“Now can we get back to discussing legalizing marijuana and opening the state hospital network to combat the opioid crisis. I am sooooo (sic) disappointed by this national feeding frenzy about sexual indiscretions decades ago,” O’Neill said in his post. Signing off with a “Peace.”

RELATED: Ohio Chief Justice issues warning to Justice O’Neill after he announces run for governor

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat who is also running for governor, called for O’Neill to resign from the court. 

“Sexual harassment, degrading and devaluing women is not a joke. Justice O’Neill should resign,” Whaley tweeted at 1:02 p.m.

O’Neill’s spokesperson has since stepped down from his position as the public voice of the judge for his campaign, according to WCPO.

Related video:

NFL investigating allegations Jameis Winston groped Uber driver in 2016, report says

Update 2:27 p.m. EDT Nov. 17: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston on Friday denied that he groped a female Uber driver in 2016, saying in a statement that he believes “the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her.”

“The accusation is false, and given the nature of the allegation and increased awareness and consideration of these types of matters, I am addressing this false report immediately.”

BuzzFeed News reported Friday that the NFL is investigating the alleged incident, which happened in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The driver, who was not identified, told BuzzFeed that Winston “reached over and he just grabbed my crotch” as they were waiting for food in the drive-thru of a Mexican restaurant.

“I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false,” Winston said. “While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way.”

In response to the incident, Uber barred Winston from using the service.

Original report:The NFL is investigating an allegation that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in 2016, BuzzFeed News reported Friday.

>> Read more trending news

Lisa Friel, a member of the NFL’s special counsel for investigations, sent a letter to the female Uber driver on Thursday confirming that the NFL is looking into the matter, according to the report.

The female Uber driver told BuzzFeed News that she picked up Winston in the early hours of the morning on March 13 in Scottsdale, Arizona. She said that Winston “behaved poorly” immediately when he entered her vehicle.

Later in the drive, when they waited for food at a Mexican restaurant drive-thru, Winston “reached over and he just grabbed my crotch,” the woman told BuzzFeed.

Soon after the ride, the driver filed a formal complaint with the company, writing that “apparently a big athlete in the NFL” reached over “and put his fingers on my crotch.”

“It wasn’t my stomach or thigh, it was my crotch and I want to be clear about that,” she added in the complaint. “He is NOT safe for other drivers.”

Uber banned Winston from using the service in the future, according to BuzzFeed.

“The behavior the driver reported is disturbing and wrong,” an Uber spokesperson said Friday in a statement. “The rider was permanently removed from the app shortly after we learned of the incident.”

Winston’s representative, Russ Spielman, issued a statement denying the allegations, saying the Uber driver “was unable to identify the specific individual who allegedly touched this driver inappropriately. The only reason his name is being dragged in to this is that his Uber account was used to call the ride.”

While at Florida State, Winston was accused of raping a female student. The alleged assault, which occurred in 2012, was not made public until 2013 amid the controversy of a cover-up by the school and Tallahassee police.

The woman in the case, Erica Kinsman, sued the University. In 2016, she and Florida State reached a settlement that would pay her $950,000.

Winston is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Breathtaking NASA time lapse shows how much Earth has changed over 20 years

This fall marks 20 years since NASA satellites started to continuously observe life on Earth.

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To commemorate the monumental discoveries over the years, NASA is sharing stories and videos about how much views from up above have taught us about life on our home planet and the search for life elsewhere.

A new time-lapse animation, shown below, captures 20 years’ worth of the planet’s changing land and ocean life as seen from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of view Sensor, which launched in 1997.

“These are incredibly evocative visualizations of our living planet,” Gene Carl Feldman, an oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a NASA news release last week. “That’s the Earth. That is it breathing every single day, changing with the seasons, responding to the sun, to the changing winds, ocean currents and temperatures."

>> Related: 15,000 scientists warn it will soon be 'too late' to save Earth

Over the past 20 years, NASA scientists have monitored the health of crops, forests and fisheries around the globe and have learned more about the long-term changes across continents and ocean basins, the agency wrote in the news release.

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