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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 16, 2012

Reminder 2012 Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks November 16 to 17

This year’s Leonid Meteor Shower peaks November 16 to 17. The crescent moon sets after sunset so the skies will be dark for viewing. The Meteor Shower usually picks ups after midnight and peaks just before dawn. It is common to see 10 to 15 meteors per hour just before dawn. Unfortunately, those of us in Northern California are having clouds and rain making our chances of seeing meteors extremely slim.

EarthSky in its post: Moonless nights for November 2012 Leonid Meteor shower | Tonight | EarthSky reports that

The Leonid meteor shower is named after the constellation Leo the Lion. If you trace the paths of the Leonid meteors backward, they all seem to radiate from this constellation – near the star Algieba. But you don’t have to identify the constellation Leo to watch the Leonids, for these meteors fly any which way through the nighttime sky. Generally, the higher that Leo climbs in the sky, the more Leonid meteors that you’ll see. At this time of year, the Lion climbs highest in the sky just before dawn.

The Leonid shower has produced some of history’s most impressive displays of meteors. The best displays in recent history took place in 1833, 1866 and 1966. Whenever our planet Earth plows through an unusually thick clump of debris in space – left behind by comets in orbit around the sun – hundreds of thousands of meteors can streak across our nighttime sky. For instance, observers in the southwest United States reported seeing 40 to 50 meteors per second (that’s 2,400 to 3,000 meteors per minute!) during a span of 15 minutes on the morning of November 17, 1966.

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