November 17th, 2010
08:40 PM ET

Catch it if you can: Leonid meteor shower continues tonight

A meteor streak captured in Sherborn, Massachusetts, during the 2001 Leonid meteor shower.

Stargazers have the option of staying up real late tonight or waking up very early Thursday morning for optimal viewing of this year's Leonid meteor shower.

Weather permitting, viewers can expect to see up to 20 meteors per hour after the gibbous moon sets  between 3 and 4 a.m. Thursday, depending on where you live, according to StarDate magazine.  At this time, look eastward to see the meteors.

Consult this handy table, courtesy of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, to find out the time the moon sets tonight where you live.

All you'll need are your eyes and a dark place far from the lights of a city to view the meteor shower without a telescope or binoculars, as long as skies are clear.

The light of the moon, sun and stars hinder meteor-watching. With the full moon approaching next week, tonight offers the best remaining opportunity to witness the annual November shower.

The name Leonid comes from the constellation Leo, from which the meteors appear to radiate. But Leonids are bits of debris from the Comet Tempel-Tuttle that are left behind as the comet orbits the sun.

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Filed under: Space
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. csw4

    go to gilese 581 and see if anyone is out there

    November 18, 2010 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Harvey Wallbanger

    When I was a kid in 1966, I went out in the back yard to watch. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of meteors. A sight I will never forget

    November 18, 2010 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. csw4

    um martin luthor we stargazers know not right lighting can affect great seeing so if you can't adjust go somewhere you can

    November 18, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. hostile177

    Every year is different with some meteor showers stronger than others. You just have to be lucky and patient to catch a stream of them. One year I saw maybe three dim ones in an hour and was disappointed. The next year I couldn't believe how many were whizzing around. Several per minute.

    November 18, 2010 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Disappointed Juan

    It can be spectacular if you're in a dark, remote location. Tonight in suburban Philadelphia the bright 3/4 moon drowned out anything that might have been visible. Shame to waste a clear, beautiful night sky for the Leonids..

    November 18, 2010 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. pierce

    Planets spinning through space. The smile upon your face.

    November 18, 2010 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. God

    These meteors I have sent to punish a planet of sinners!

    It will rain fire and brimstone on ye who disobey my commandments.

    November 18, 2010 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. RSfromDFW

    I'd love to go see the meteor shower but I'd have to drive so far to get away from the city's light pollution that I'm afraid I'd fall asleep and crash trying to drive back home at sunrise.

    November 18, 2010 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. Johnny

    Just one so far. Pt pleasant nj coast. Damn its cold!

    November 18, 2010 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Hayidan's Intuition

    Oh well can't see anything 🙁

    November 18, 2010 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ghostfire76

    Had an awesome view here in the southern end of the appalachens! Lots of slow fall'n fireballs mixed with "zippers". A space junkies paradise. I'd blame a politian, too, but theres to blank'n many. Night yall.

    November 18, 2010 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. cesar

    VY Canis Majoris, is the largest known star in the universe; makes our sun look like a pin head.

    November 18, 2010 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. K jacktown michigan

    lay-off obama, REALLY! do some homework before you defend him. the helthcare bill? the one he got schooled on by billy taurus. even he said it was a bad decision! if he said it was bad, brother, you know it was. he got us taken to the cleaners, he very much strongarmed a HUGE health care bill without even reading it, even after the townhall meetings clearly showed that the people wanted to have the bill to be studied more before voting in that massive of a debt, he admitted the cost was very inaccurate, just like the republicans told him! twisted statistcs, to his side, we should all have input.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sgt. Slaughter

    Benjamin Franklin

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

    Don’t let the TSA pat down stand Refuse it Keep your liberty, integrity and dignity

    November 18, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
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    April 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
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