Leonid meteor shower peaks Tuesday, Nov. 17 (w/ Video)

November 12, 2009,
Meteors appear to fall from the constellation Leo.

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Leonid meteor shower best viewing this year will be in the hours before dawn on Nov. 17.

There is uncertainty on the intensity of this year's shower. Viewers will definitely see a dozen or more meteors per hour. Some predict, however, that the rate could be greater than 100. The Moon will not wash out any meteors: It rises after daybreak, and in its almost-new phase will be nearly invisible.

Leonid meteors appear to fall from the constellation Leo, the lion, but they are not associated with it. They are leftover debris from comet Tempel-Tuttle. As the comet orbits the Sun, it leaves a trail of debris. The Leonids meteors recur each year when Earth passes through the comet's debris trail.

Each time comet Tempel-Tuttle gets closest to the Sun in its orbit, called "perihelion," it sheds a significant amount of material. This creates clumps along its orbit. If the Earth passes through one of these clumps on Nov. 17, viewers could see hundreds of meteors per hour. If Earth simply passes through the "normal" part of the comet's debris trail, the number of visible will be much lower.

For the best view, get away from city lights. Look for state or city parks or other safe, dark sites. Lie on a blanket or reclining chair to get a full-sky view. If you can see all of the stars in the Little Dipper, you have good dark-adapted vision.

Provided by University of Texas at Austin (news : web)

Explore further: Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tuesday, Aug. 12

Related Stories

Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tuesday, Aug. 12

August 7, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- It's time once again for nature to put on its late-summer fireworks show: the Perseid meteor shower. This year's best viewing will be before dawn on Aug. 12, with a second chance after sunset that night, ...

Orionid meteor shower peaks Wednesday

October 19, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The annual Orionid meteor shower will peak in the hours before dawn on Oct. 21, according to the editors of StarDate magazine, who said the shower could produce up to 20 meteors per hour.

The 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower

November 10, 2009

This year's Leonid meteor shower peaks on Tuesday, Nov. 17th. If forecasters are correct, the shower should produce a mild but pretty sprinkling of meteors over North America followed by a more intense outburst over Asia. ...

Return of the Leonids

December 5, 2008

Astronomers from Caltech and NASA say a strong shower of Leonid meteors is coming in 2009. Their prediction follows an outburst on Nov. 17, 2008, that broke several years of "Leonid quiet" and heralds even more intense activity ...

Perseid Meteor Shower To Peak Aug. 12

August 7, 2008

The annual Perseid meteor shower will be visible in the night sky throughout Colorado and will peak during the early morning hours of Aug. 12, according to an astronomy expert at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Recommended for you

Three 'super-Earths' orbiting a cool dwarf star discovered

January 23, 2018

Using NASA's prolonged Kepler mission, known as K2, astronomers have found three new "super-Earth" exoplanets. The newly detected alien worlds orbit the cool dwarf star designated LP415-17. The finding is reported January ...

Dust storms linked to gas escape from Martian atmosphere

January 23, 2018

Some Mars experts are eager and optimistic for a dust storm this year to grow so grand it darkens skies around the entire Red Planet. This type of phenomenon in the environment of modern Mars could be examined as never before ...

Scientist proposes new definition of a planet

January 23, 2018

Pluto hogs the spotlight in the continuing scientific debate over what is and what is not a planet, but a less conspicuous argument rages on about the planetary status of massive objects outside our solar system. The dispute ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.