LOOK UP: Leonid meteor shower peaks next week
Posted November 12, 2019 6:19 p.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2019 5:18 p.m. EST
In 2019, the Leonid meteor shower peaks this Sunday night and the morning of Monday, November 18.
Happening annually in mid-November, in 2019 this meteor shower is expected to produce 10-15 meteors per hour under clear, dark skies.
The dark, pre-dawn hours are best to watch for shooting stars, but if you're not an early bird, after dark works, too -- just try to avoid the waning gibbous moon that will shine for much of the shower's peak.
To watch, pick a morning or evening on November 17 or 18. Dark skies far from city lights are best, but your own back yard will do.
On a clear night free of clouds or haze, find a spot with a good view of the horizon in all directions. Bring a chair or lie down on the ground, and let your eyes adapt to the dark.
Dress for the weather, and if you're headed to a dark-sky location, some water, snacks and hot drinks are probably not a bad idea.
The Leonids are the debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which leaves bits of dust in its path. When our planet crosses Tempel-Tuttle's path, sometimes these comet bits -- usually about the size of a grain of sand -- burn up when entering our atmosphere.
The Leonids, like most meteor showers, are named for the constellation from which they seem to radiate. In this case, it's Leo the Lion, but meteors will streak out in all directions.
Meteors may be visible in the days before and after the peak, but a bright moon will wash many of them out.