Leonid meteor shower will take place this month: When and where to watch

The Leonid meteor shower, which occurs mid-November every year, is considered to be a major shower, even though the meteor rates are often as low as about 15 meteors per hour. Leonids travel at speeds of about 71 kilometres per second and are considered to be some of the fastest meteors out there.

In 2020, the Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak on the morning of 17 November. The shower happens when Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. When the cometary debris enters Earth’s atmosphere and vaporises, one gets to see the Leonid meteor shower. In 2020, the waxing crescent moon will set in early evening and with a dark sky, one can see up to 10-15 meteors per hour at the peak.

 Leonid meteor shower will take place this month: When and where to watch

The Leonids meteor shower, Image credit: Flickr/Drew Wilson

Where to watch:

City, state and national parks are often great places to watch the meteor showers. The shower is best seen after midnight.

Meteors in annual showers are named for the point in the starry sky from which they appear to radiate. The Leonids is named for the constellation Leo the Lion since the meteors radiate outward from the vicinity of stars representing the Lion’s Mane.

The Leonid meteors appear to steam from near the star Algieba in the constellation Leo, which is their radiant point.

According to a report in CNN, the Leonid meteor shower overlaps with the Northern Taurid meteor shower and so some meteors from that shower may be visible as well, The Northern Taurids appear as fireballs in the sky.

This year, there will not be any meteor storm. Meteor storms happen when one can see over 1,000 meteors per hour. The last Leonid meteor shower happened in 2001.