How to Watch the Leonid Meteor Shower

From Space.com:

The meteors will appear to emanate from out of the so-called “Sickle” of Leo, but prospective viewers should not concentrate on that area of the sky around Leo, but rather keep their eyes moving around to different parts of the sky.
Because Leo does not start coming fully into view until the after midnight hours, that would be the best time to concentrate on looking for the Leonid meteors.
The hours after midnight are generally best for watching for “shooting stars” anyway, because before midnight we are riding on the back side of the Earth in its orbit around the Sun, whereas after midnight we are on the front or advancing side. After midnight the only meteoroids escaping collision are those ahead of the Earth and moving in the same direction with velocities exceeding 18.5 miles per second. All others we will either overtake or meet head-on. But before midnight, when we are on the backside, the only meteoroids we encounter are those with velocities high enough to overtake the Earth.
Therefore, on the average, morning meteors appear brighter and faster than those we see in the evening.
And because the Leonids are moving along in their orbit around the Sun in a direction opposite to that of Earth, they slam into our atmosphere nearly head-on, resulting in the fastest meteor velocities possible: 45 miles per second (72 kilometers per second). Such speeds tend to produce bright meteors, which leave long-lasting streaks or trains in their wake.

About Kevin

Kevin Jarnot is a technologist who lives just South of Boston, MA. He is currently employed as Chief Technology Officer at DebtX, a financial services technology company based in Boston.
This entry was posted in Interesting. Bookmark the permalink.