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See the 2017 Leonid Meteor Shower at Its Peak: What to Expect

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See the 2017 Leonid Meteor Shower at Its Peak: What to Expect

Postby MrFredPFL » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:08 am

Story :

The famous Leonid meteor shower is predicted to reach its peak in the predawn hours on Friday (Nov. 17). Weather permitting, observing conditions will be perfect: There's a new moon on Saturday, which means that the sky will be dark with no hindrance whatsoever from moonlight.

But don't expect to see a lot of meteors. In fact, a single observer will likely see no more than 10 to 15 of these meteors per hour emanating from the "sickle" of Leo, the lion.

Hence the moniker for these meteors: the "Leonids." The sickle — a star pattern that looks like a backward question mark and outlines the "mane" of Leo the lion — rises above the east-northeast horizon around 11 p.m. local time. By about 5 a.m. local time, this eye-catching star pattern will have ascended to a position high in the south-southeast part of the sky.

Earth meets these meteors head-on because they are traveling through space in a direction opposite to that of our home planet. As a result, they streak through our sky at ultraswift speeds of up to 45 miles per second (72 kilometers per second). About half of them leave visible trains that, in the most extreme cases, can persist for many seconds.

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