Leonids Meteor Shower

The Leonids Meteor Shower, which is derived from material dropped by repeated past passages of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, will peak on November 17/18. The maximum number of Leonids will appear before dawn local time, because that is when the sky overhead will be plowing directly into the cloud of particles that produce the shower.

The meteors can appear anywhere in a dark sky, but true Leonids will be travelling in a direction away from a location (the radiant) just above the stars that form the head of Leo (the Lion). You can watch for meteors in the evening, too – but many of them will be hidden from view below the Earth’s horizon. This week’s meagre moon will keep the sky darker – ideal for seeing fainter meteors.

To see the most meteors, find a wide-open dark location, preferably away from light polluted skies, and just look up with your unaided eyes. Binoculars and telescopes are not useful for meteors – their field of view are too narrow. If the peak night is cloudy, several nights on either side will be almost as good. Happy hunting!

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Image Credit:Vito Technology

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