This year's display of Leonid meteors peaks on November 17th, but they'll be largely washed out thanks to strong interference from the Moon.

[caption id="attachment_255429599" align="alignright

Leonid meteor shower in 2012</em srcset=

The direction to watch is wherever your sky is darkest, and it will certainly help to pick a spot where the Moon is blocked from your view by a building or tree.

Notice the meteors' flight paths; only those streaking away from the direction to the constellation Leo are Leonids. They're incredibly fast-movers as meteors go, striking Earth's atmosphere at 71 km per second (160,000 mph). Sometimes they create dazzling fireballs with an afterglow (technically known as a train) that can linger as a ghostly thread in the sky for up to a minute.

For more information, read our article Basics of Meteor Observing. And you can also download S&T's free eBook on meteor observing.


You must be logged in to post a comment.