Leonid Meteor Shower 2017: How And When To Watch This Week’s ‘Shooting Stars’ Celestial Phenomenon
The year has been quite eventful for the skygazers with eclipses, meteor showers, moon phases and conjunctions. From once-in-a-lifetime phenomena like the Total Solar Eclipse to annual astronomical occurrences such as Perseids and Orionids meteor showers, 2017 has seen it all. Next up in the year’s celestial events is Leonid Meteor Shower 2017. The Comet Tempel–Tuttle, a periodic comet is the parent body of the well-known meteor shower that occurs in between November 15-November 20 as it peaks on November 18. 2017’s Leonid Meteor Shower will be seen at its best on the mornings of November 17 (Friday) and 18 (Saturday). While rare Leonid meteor storms have witnessed meteor fall at rates as high as 50,000 per hour but this year expect an hourly rate of 10 to 20 meteors, according to Space.com.
The Leonids got their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo – the meteors appear to radiate from that point near the star Algieba in the constellation in the sky. But one does not guarantee that looking in the direction will mean better meteor shower show. According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, look in just about any direction to enjoy the show. In fact, you may miss the meteors with longer tails if directly facing Leo. Interesting observation, we must say. Skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere will find it a bit easier to see the Leonids compared to the Southern Hemisphere. The best time to watch the Leonids is usually between the hours of midnight and dawn.
Leonids are your average shower (15 meteors) with rare storms witnessing thousands of meteors falling at a time. While there will be no meteor storms, one should expect a decent show compared to 2016. It is because of the New Moon on November 18, which results in the sky turning dark. It will serve as a perfect setting for the astronomy lovers to see the Leonid Meteor Shower. The parent comet – Tempel-Tuttle – completes a single orbit around the sun about once every 33 years, meaning celestial event lovers witnesses a meteor storm every 33 years beginning in 1833. That year, Leonids storm is believed to produce more than 100,000 meteors an hour.