The Leonids are here

Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight: How to See It

The Leonids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo: the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky. (Credit: Wiki)

The November path of the radiant of the 2014 Leonids. Credit: Starry Night Education Software.

The November path of the radiant of the 2014 Leonids. Credit: Starry Night Education Software.

The Leonid meteor shower is forecasted to peak Monday afternoon (Nov. 17) in the U.S. eastern time zone, so stargazers in the United States are advised to look to the skies between midnight and dawn on Monday and Tuesday morning for the best view, astronomers say.  This year, the Leonid meteor shower should treat skywatchers to beween 10 and 15 meteors per hour, NASA meteor expert Bill Cook, head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, told Space.com. For some meteor showers, that’s considered a decent rate.

Leonids Radiant Star Chart(PDF)

right

(Credit: freecharts.com)

NASA’s live stream will include a sky view from a telescope at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. That stream will begin on Monday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. EST (0030 GMT Tuesday) and will continue until sunrise on Tuesday Nov. 18.

A meteor during the peak of the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower. The photograph shows the meteor, afterglow, and wake as distinct components.(Credit: Wiki)

A meteor during the peak of the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower. The photograph shows the meteor, afterglow, and wake as distinct components.(Credit: Wiki)

The Slooh live stream will begin on Monday, Nov. 17 at 8:00 p.m. EST (0100 GMT Tuesday) and will include more than just shots of the sky: Slooh will also broadcast audio of the “ionization sounds” created by the meteors. As the meteors streak through the sky, they briefly ionize the atmosphere. For a few seconds, the ionized region reflects short-wavelength radio waves, creating short blips and beeps of sound. Slooh’s broadcast will also include interviews with astronomers. (Credit: Calla Cofield and Spacce.com)

Skymap November 2014 (PDF)

east

(Credit: Farmers Almanac)

The waning-crescent moon will increase chances of a better view of the spectacle, according to NASA. This type of moon will create skies that are dark enough to view the meteors, which are characteristically bright and colorful.

Leonids Viewing Conditions Photo courtesy of AccuWeather.com

Leonids Viewing Conditions (Credit: AccuWeather.com)

“Widespread cloud cover across the eastern third of the U.S. will make it difficult to see the meteor shower Monday before dawn, except perhaps in central and south Florida. Skies should be much clearer Tuesday morning, though it may take until late at night for New England to clear out, and there will be clouds in south Florida and in the lake-effect snow belts of the Great Lakes. Clear skies will be the rule across the central and western U.S. both mornings, with only a few minor exceptions,” said Digital Meteorologist, Nick Wiltgen, from weather.com. (Credit: Carolyn Williams, weather.com)

This diagram maps the data gathered from 1994-2013 on small asteroids impacting Earth's atmosphere to create very bright meteors, technically called "bolides" and commonly referred to as "fireballs".  Sizes of red dots (daytime impacts) and blue dots (nighttime impacts) are proportional to the optical radiated energy of impacts measured in billions of Joules (GJ) of energy, and show the location of impacts from objects about 1 meter (3 feet) to almost 20 meters (60 feet) in size. Image (Credit: Planetary Science)

This diagram maps the data gathered from 1994-2013 on small asteroids impacting Earth’s atmosphere to create very bright meteors, technically called “bolides” and commonly referred to as “fireballs”. Sizes of red dots (daytime impacts) and blue dots (nighttime impacts) are proportional to the optical radiated energy of impacts measured in billions of Joules (GJ) of energy, and show the location of impacts from objects about 1 meter (3 feet) to almost 20 meters (60 feet) in size. Image (Credit: Planetary Science)

via scientificamerican

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