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Leonid meteor shower to put on a show November 17th

Shelby Bateson's picture

With no light from the moon to obscure the light show, the Leonid Meteor shower is expected to put on a dazzling display which will peak the early morning hours of November 17th this year.

This month, the new moon is November 16th, so the skies will be dark for those who are up and watching for shooting stars streaking across the sky on November 17th from the Leonid Meteor show.

The strongest display will be seen in Central and Eastern Asia, but there will be a very good show in the U.S. and Canada as well, especially for those in Eastern U.S. and Eastern Canada. Even in the rest of both countries though, the meteors should be visible.

If there are no clouds in the sky, and you are positioned away from city lights, and you like being up during the wee hours of the night (morning), the best hours for viewing will be between 3:30am - 5:30am. It is expected that you might see as many as a few dozen meteors per hour.

As with all meteor showers, Leonid is so named because of the constellation (Leo)associated with the "radiant" of the shower. The radiant is the point in the sky where it will appear the meteors are originating. This year, the radiant should be quite high in the sky, so the streaking meteors will be seen for longer than when Leo is sitting close to the horizon. Some scientists predict that a rare few meteors could be visible for as long as a minute or more.

You don't have to look for the Leo constellation to see the meteors, and if Leo is not part of your skyview that evening, not to worry - these meteors will be visible all over the sky. But if you can locate Leo, it will appear that the show is originating from that point.

For those of you who live in Europe, this will not be a good viewing year, since Leo doesn't rise above your horizon until daylight hours.

While November 17th will be the peak viewing night, you could see a few shooting stars as early as the 10th of the month, though what you see could actually be meteors from Taurid, or meteors emanating from a radiant in the Taurus constellation. If you see these, you could be in for a treat, because these are typically slower moving, and so could be even more visible.

For more scientific information about this upcoming light show, check out Space.com

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