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Leonid Meteor Shower to Peak Nov. 17

Look to the skies for some stunning light displays this November and December.

As you hang holiday lights and light the candles, cast your gaze upon the universe's natural fireworks. 

Astronomers anticipate two more meteor showers in November and December. 

Nov. 17: Leonid Meteor Shower

  • After years of heavier-than-average showers, the famous Leonids have returned and are expected to peak on Nov. 17 in the pre-dawn hours. These meteors are fast (about 40 miles per second) and can leave trails of smoke, according to Astronomy.com. They will appear to radiate from the constellation Leo the Lion. "Many Leonids are also bright. Usually, the meteors are white or bluish-white, but in recent years some observers reported yellow-pink and copper-colored ones," according to the website

Dec. 13: Geminid Meteor Shower

  • The last shooting star cluster before New Year's is the Geminid Meteor Shower, expected to peak in the pre-dawn hours after midnight between Dec. 13 and Dec. 15. They will be visible in all parts of the sky and streak through the sky at more than 50 meteors per hour, almost a meteor a minute, according to EarthSky.com. The new moon is expected to fall on Dec. 13, making for optimal dark skies—as long as you avoid city lights and clouds, the website states.  

Be sure to schedule a night this season to bundle up, lay out some blankets and enjoy the light show in the sky. 

Share your tips for photographing the showers. Tell us your favorite places to sneak off to view the skies. 

ConcernedElhmhurstTaxpayer November 15, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Great, do you have any suggestions regarding the location for the showers? West sky, whatever. Thanks.
Karen Chadra (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Hi Mike, Earthsky.org says they will appear in all parts of the sky. Here's the complete explanation from Earthsky: "This shower is named for the constellation Leo the Lion, because these meteors radiate outward from the vicinity of stars representing the Lion’s mane. If you trace the paths of Leonid meteors backward on the sky’s dome, they do seem to stream from the constellation Leo. The point in the sky from which they appear to radiate is called the radiant point. In recent years, people have gotten the mistaken idea that you must know the whereabouts of a meteor shower’s radiant point in order to watch the meteor shower. You don’t need to. The meteors often don’t become visible until they are 30 degrees or so from their radiant point. They are streaking out from the radiant in all directions. Thus the Leonid meteors – like meteors in all annual showers – will appear in all parts of the sky."

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