November 2019 Leonid Meteor Shower Tonight

Leonid Meteor Shower

The 2019 Leonid meteor shower is active from November 5th through the 30th and will peak during the early morning hours of Monday, November 18.

The 2019 Leonid meteor shower is predicted to produce 10 to 15 meteors per hour this year with the occasional fireball.

Fireballs are larger meteoroids, roughly ranging in size anywhere from a basketball to a Volkswagen. They also make very impressive sky displays as they break into fragments and burn up in their passage through Earth’s atmosphere.

Leonid Meteor Shower fireball
Leonid Meteor Shower Fireball. Credit: NASA

When to Watch The 2019 Leonid Meteor Shower

Around 3 hours before sunrise at the viewer’s location, the Leonid meteor shower should be visible from any populated area on Earth with clear dark skies. However, Northern Hemisphere observers will have more favorable viewing because of the radiant’s location in the constellation Leo.

How to Watch The 2019 Leonid Meteor Shower

For optimal viewing, find an open sky, lie on the ground, and look straight up into the dark sky. It is important to be far away from artificial lights.

Your eyes can take up to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness, so allow plenty of time for your eyes to dark-adapt.

Where does the Leonid Meteor Shower come from?

Leonids are made up of bits of debris from the Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Every 33 years, this comet visits the inner solar system and leaves a stream of dusty debris in its orbital track.

Many of these debris streams have drifted across the November portion of Earth’s orbit.

Whenever the Earth hits one of these streams, meteors appear to be flying out of the constellation Leo.

Image Credit: NASA