One of the best annual meteor showers will peak in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, and for some skywatchers the show could be quite impressive.
The best seats are in Asia, but North American observers should be treated to an above-average performance of the Leonid meteor shower, weather permitting. The trick for all observers is to head outside in the wee hours of the morning — between 1 a.m. and dawn — regardless of where you live.
The Leonids put on a solid show every year, if skies are clear and moonlight does not interfere. This year the moon is near its new phase, and thus it won't be a factor that detracts from the show. For anyone in the Northern Hemisphere with dark skies, away from urban and suburban lighting, the meteor shower should be worth getting up early to see.
The Earth is expected to pass through the densest parts of the two dust clouds at around 21:40 GMT on Nov. 17, though heavy meteor activity is possible for about an hour or two on either side of this time.
From much of Asia, India and Indonesia, the corresponding calendar date will be Nov. 18. It will be 12:40 a.m. in Moscow; 3:10 a.m. in Mumbai; 4:40 a.m. in Jakarta and 5:40 a.m. in Beijing, Unfortunately from Tokyo and across Australia, the sun will have already risen, effectively hiding the meteor outburst. Conversely, from Europe it will be after sunset on Tuesday evening, but although it will be nighttime, Leo will have not yet risen above the horizon, so the outburst will not visible.
The annual Leonid Meteor shower reaches its peak early tomorrow morning (17th US/ 18th Australia) for those game enough to stay up or wake early to see it.
The Leonid Meteor shower is a prolific shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The name, as it might suggest, comes from their location in the sky visually in alignment with Leo.
Depending on where you are during the shower will change what you can expect: in North America, expect to see between 30 and 200 meteors per hour. If you’re in Asia you could see more than 500 an hour, and possibly more than 1000 an hour.
If you’re looking to view the meteor shower in Australia, you might be hard pressed to see much at all, at least relative to how far south you are and you ability to view Leo. The meteors will appear in the North East.
Best time to view the Leonids meteor shower 2009 is from 1:30am through to dawn.
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