Leonids Meteor Shower

The wonderful Leonids Meteor Shower will peak on Sunday, November 17, before dawn. Here are the details you need to know about this celestial event.

The annual Leonids Meteor shower, derived from material left by repeated passages of periodic Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, runs from November 5th to December 3rd worldwide. At the peak, observers can expect to see up to 10 to 15 meteors per hour, many with persistent trains. At that time, the sky overhead will be plowing directly into the cloud of particles that produce the shower.

You can start watching for the Leonids as soon as it’s dark. The best viewing time will occur in the hours after midnight to dawn, when the shower’s radiant (Leo constellation) will be highest in the sky. The meteors can appear anywhere in a dark sky, but true Leonids will be travelling in a direction away from the radiant, just above the stars that form the head of Leo (the Lion). The maximum number of Leonids is expected to appear before dawn.

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. This year the bright moon washes out many of the meteors. Nevertheless, several nights on either side of the shower’s peak will be almost as good to look for meteors.

Enjoy the meteor shower season with Star Walk 2!

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