Leonids Meteor Shower: When, Where and How to Watch it

The meteor shower will reach its peak at midnight across the U.S.

November 17, 2015, 10:51 AM

— -- Grab a blanket and watch the Leonid meteor shower as it streaks bright colors across the sky tonight.

Leonids are bright, sometimes colorful meteors that travel at speeds of 44 miles per second and occur every November. They are known for their fireballs and earthgrazer meteors. Fireballs are explosions of light and color persisting longer than an average meteor streak; earthgrazer meteors have long and colorful tails and streak close to the horizon.

The meteor shower will begin around midnight local time across the continental U.S. and will last until dawn, according to NASA, with approximately 15 meteors per hour.

To get the best view of the potentially colorful meteors, NASA suggests finding an area away from lights and laying on a blanket with feet pointed toward the east. NASA said it may take up to 30 minutes for human eyes to adjust to the dark before seeing the bright streaks across the sky. NASA also recommends viewing the Leonids away from the radiant because the Leonids will appear longer and more spectacular from this perspective.

NASA said humans can see a Leonids storm from Earth about every 33 years.

PHOTO: The Leonids meteor shower will peak at midnight across the continental U.S.
The Leonids meteor shower will peak at midnight across the continental U.S.
Courtesy Prof. Jimmy Westlake, Colorado Mountain College

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