Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Leonid Meteor Showers


In the pre-dawn hours on the mornings of November 17th and 18th take a trip outside and look up. It is the time of year for the Leonid meteor shower. This meteor shower is due to the Comet Temple/Tuttle. As the comet makes its way around the Sun it loses some of its material as a debris tail, and when that tail crosses Earth's path we see the debris streaking through our atmosphere. Because that debris is not always uniform between years you may see a light shower or an especially heavy one, its difficult to say.

The shower will be visible through the constellation Leo (hence the name). For all observers Leo is along the ecliptic plane. This year is expected to be good, with about 15-30 (average of 20) meteors per hour, and you don't even need a telescope to see the show.

So set your alarm a little early, grab a lawn chair and some hot coffee, and find a nice dark place with little obstruction to watch the sky.

Read more about the Leonids here, including some good information on how to locate the constellation Leo:
http://stardate.org/mediacenter/201011-leonid-meteor-shower
http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/earthskys-meteor-shower-guide
http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors
http://www.theskyscrapers.org/meteors/
http://www.universetoday.com/79004/the-lion-tamer-leonid-meteor-shower-2010/#more-79004
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