Monday, November 17, 2014

Watch Live: Leonid Meteor Shower Tonight

A Leonids Meteor
A Leonid Meteor.  Credit:NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The Leonid meteor shower will peak overnight tonight and into the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 18, 2014.   

NASA will stream tonight's meteor shower online via Ustream from a telescope at Marshall Space Flight Center beginning Monday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m.  Eastern Standard Time and will continue until sunrise on Tuesday November 18.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

At 3 a.m. local time, the Leonid meteor shower should be visible from any populated area on Earth with clear dark skies, though Northern Hemisphere observers are favored due to the radiant's location in the constellation Leo.   The Leonids will appear to come from the constellation Leo from the east over the horizon. 

How to Watch The Leonid Meteor Shower Tonight:

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 bits of debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Every 33 years the comet visits the inner solar system and leaves a stream of dusty debris in its wake. Many of these streams have drifted across the November portion of Earth's orbit. Whenever the Earth hits one, meteors appear to be flying out of the constellation Leo.

Leonid Meteor Radiant

On rare occasions, the Leonids have been recorded to produce over 100,000 meteors per hour.  This occurred in 1883 and 1966, reported.  However, NASA scientists are not predicting such a spectacular meteor storm this year.

“We’re predicting 10 to 15 meteors per hour,” said Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. 

Image Credit: NASA