The Leonids meteor shower happens every year around Nov. 17, spilling across the sky from the constellation Leo, which is in the southwest portion of the night sky.
Historically, the Leonids have produced some of the greatest meteor storms in history, with rates as high as many thousands of meteors per hour. These storms often recur in cycles of 33 years. In 2008, we anticipate more of a whimper than a growl from Leo the Lion, with a maximum of perhaps 10-15 meteors per hour. Like the October Orionids, the Leonids produce swift-moving meteors, and tend to put out the greatest numbers just before dawn. The peak, however, on November 17, also features a large bright waning gibbous moon in the sky after midnight. Forget the Leonids this year, unless you are a serious meteor observer – or unless you happen to spot a few whizzing past in bright moonlight!
4 years ago