The Leonid meteor can be seen this weekend as our world moves through space, crossing the orbital path of Comet Tempel-Tuttle, the parent comet of the Leonid meteor shower.
The best viewing is predicted between midnight and dawn on Saturday, Nov. 17. We'll have a some clouds around both Saturday and Sunday nights but there will be a little clearing, and you might see nearly as many meteors in the predawn darkness on Sunday, Nov. 18.
This won’t be a great year to see the “shooting stars” because no meteor storm is expected. If skies are clear, you may see 10 to 15 meteors per hour at the peak, in the darkness before dawn. Sometimes even seeing one can be a big treat!
The good news this year is that the moon is out of the way for the 2012 Leonid meteor shower. The moon will be a thin crescent, setting shortly behind the sun. The moon’s absence from the night sky is good for watchers. Typically, the best time to watch this meteor shower is between the hours of midnight and dawn. The best place to watch a meteor shower is always in the country. Just go far enough from town that glittering stars, the same stars drowned by city lights, begin to pop into view.
Meteors are named for the point in our sky from which they appear to radiate. This shower is named for the constellation Leo the Lion, because these meteors radiate outward from the vicinity of stars representing the Lion’s mane.