They arrive every November. The Leonids are one of the best meteor showers sky watchers can see and they are set to peak over the weekend.
Typically you can expect to see 10-15 every hour, but every 33 years a meteor storm occurs producing up to 1,000 or more an hour. Unfortunately that won’t happen again until 2034.
The meteors appear to originate from the constellation Leo, hence their name. What causes the meteors is the Comet Tempel-Tuttle which is falling apart as it orbits around the sun. The heat from the sun causes the comets ice to melt leaving behind particles and the Earth then runs into the debris each year causing meteors to streak through the night sky.
The best time to watch the Leonids is after midnight and before dawn and it’s simple, just find a dark spot away from city lights and look up!
This year viewing could be a little tricky. First let’s start with the weather. The forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies as we start the weekend, but hopefully we will see a few breaks in the clouds late Sunday. The other factor, a full moon will make viewing a little more difficult.
A Leonid meteor typically travels at 44 miles per second. They appear white or bluish as they streak across the sky and some are bright enough to leave a glowing streak in their wake.
The peak is Saturday November 16th into Sunday November 17th. So get out there this weekend and check it out.