15 November 2010

Leonid Meteor Shower 2010

A very fine meteor shower arrives this week. The Leonids peak on the night of November 17 and morning of November 18th, bringing a fairly reliable collection of meteors to the eastern skies. Best viewing is well after midnight into the early morning hours (around 4:00 AM until sunrise), when the Moon will have set and the Earth is better positioned to intersect more meteors.

Star Date Online has a nice article and image about the Leonids, so named because they appear to originate in the zodiac constellation of Leo. The constellation rises in the early morning sky and dominates the eastern sky. As the Sun does not break the darkness of the morning sky until 5:30 AM, the best darkness will be from 4:00 until 5:30 at which an observer in dark skies can see dozens of meteors per hour. Another good online resources is Astronomy.com with a good article on the Leonid shower.

Image from Astronomy.com.

4 comments:

Reilly said...

Hi Paul,

Cool blog.

Hey, I'm from out of town, but would love to see the meteor shower tomoro nite. Do you know, is there any gathering place of people looking at it?

If not, what's the best spot to watch it from near SF? I have a car.

Thanks in advance,

Reilly
reillycapps,gmail

The Urban Astronomer said...

hi Reilly - I don't know of any public gatherings for the meteor shower. In San Francisco or any city setting, the most important thing is to get to a dark setting where you don't have streetlights or houselights or other lights shining directly in your eyes. Give yourself time to adapt and then you will start to see meteors.

From SF, driving north is usually good. There are very dark places in Marin along the coast or in the mountains.

Best of luck -
Paul

The Urban Astronomer said...

I viewed the Leonids for a while from the window of an airplane at 35,000 feet (Redeye flight last night). There was plenty of activity from that point of view - one per minute for a while looking only at a limited patch of sky. That was a first for me - interesting view, but probably not the best way to take in a meteor shower ;-)

Sidewalk Universe said...

Hey Paul now that was a interesting point of view!