Fri., Nov. 13 6:27 4:23
Sat., Nov. 14 6:29 4:22
Sun., Nov. 15 6:30 4:21
Mon., Nov. 16 6:31 4:20
Tues., Nov. 17 6:32 4:20
Wed., Nov. 18 6:33 4:19
Thurs., Nov. 19 6:35 4:18
Fri., Nov. 20 6:36 4:17
The Leonid meteor shower will be a worthwhile reason to wake up at 2 a.m. Tuesday.
The Leonid shower gets its name from where ancient astronomers believed it originated: the meteors appear to radiate from the zodical constellation Leo. Modern-day astronomers know the meteors only appear to come from the constellation. These small particles of debris entering our atmosphere and burning up are in orbit around the sun; much closer than the distant stars of Leo.
The Leonid meteors are caught in the orbit of Comet 55P/Temple-Tuttle, a periodic meteor. Once a yea,r the Earth passes through the orbit on the same date. Normally, one can expect to see a dozen Leonid meteors shooting across the sky, hours before first light. But this year, astronomers believe the proximity of the comet and the orbit will give us a better show than usual.
Observers can expect to see as many as 100 meteors in an hour, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t see that many: it’s a good show, no matter how many you count.
Look towards the eastern sky after midnight. The constellation Leo rises in the east at about 3 a.m., the expected height of the show.
To prepare, grab a hot cup of cocoa, a winter coat and a beach chair and go outside for an hour of viewing. No matter what, the show should be memorable.